gavel by Sal Falko-flickr-CC

How miraculous that Kathy Stein found herself caring about a young man who tried to rob and kill her.

On the first day of court testimony, April 9, 1998, Stein waited in an adjacent room, still afraid to see the boys who nearly killed her.

But then she learned his horrendous history. Learned he was a real person, aged 13. A sad little boy with a troubled and tragic life.

The Ashville Citizen-Times featured her story with the unusual twist that by the end of the trial she’d started down a “tumultuous journey on a path less chosen — one toward forgiveness instead of rage…”

One year later, she had taken up a cause: reparative justice, promoting healing for all victims and offenders by addressing what they referred to as wounds born of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic injustice and oppression; advocating for such offenders to receive counseling, concern and rehabilitation.

The young boy felt Stein’s concern, received her many phone calls and perhaps it made a difference in the way he thought about himself while spending two and a half years in an adult prison.

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