Ramsay Boly

Ramsay is a Burkinabe-American whose values and identities draw from a global spectrum of cultures, ideologies, and narratives. Ramsay is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley’s Master of Development Practice whose work links development with social justice. This roots in his exposure to global social and economic inequities that have largely been influenced by histories of colonialism and intersecting hegemonic systems that continue to perpetuate exploitation and oppression. His counter-work focuses on self- cultivation and mindfulness practice, narrative practice, restorative justice, conflict transformation, collaborative impact, ethnic studies, decolonization, mentorship and youth empowerment.

As a practitioner at UC Berkeley’s Restorative Justice Center Ramsay co-designed and facilitated an eighteen-hour Graduate Student Inclusivity Training for a group of thirty graduate students from diverse campus departments. This multimodal curriculum engaged participants in experiential learning that combined lectures, group work, and simulations to teach them how to build community, create inclusive spaces, facilitate diverse groups, mediate conflict, and become mindful change agents. Ramsay continues to support participants from this training as they design and facilitate community building and anti-racist trainings for their respective departments. Ramsay also spent six months working with a UC Berkeley IT department whose staff was divided along racial lines due to structural, cultural, and direct harm. Ramsay led POC affinity circles to discuss individual and collective experiences, build community, identify needs moving forward, create strategies for self-care and support, and prepare for a series of reconciliation circles with the white affinity group. Since the enactment of social-distancing, Ramsay has been working with UC Berkeley’s largest college (College of Letters & Science) to design and facilitate their first virtual retreat for academic advisors that includes community building and anti-racism components.

Ramsay was also elected Community Builder for his graduate housing coop of 58 residents where he served as a mediator and anti-oppression coordinator. His work to create a more inclusive and safer house culture that promotes belonging entailed organizing and co-facilitating workshops (Consent, Sexual Harassment, Disability Justice, and Micro-Aggressions) as well as affinity circles (women, POC, disability, men) that provide intentional spaces for members to discuss challenges that are pertinent to their identities in the community. Ramsay also facilitated house community agreements where residents discussed strategies for accountability, support, and conflict resolution.

Ramsay is also engaged with academic work and research in social justice and decolonization. As a Graduate Student Instructor at UC Berkeley, he taught discussion sections for African American and Ethnic Studies courses. Ramsay prepared and facilitated a weekly one-hour discussion to supplement course lectures and readings for two classes with thirty students each. These courses engaged with concepts of racism and colonialism for which Ramsay applied restorative justice and community building practices to foster a community of learning and accountability. For his capstone project, Ramsay developed a proposal for a gender-transformative approach based on Restorative Justice and Narrative Therapy that heals, empowers, and includes women in justice, security, and peace-making decisions in order to structuralize change needed to sustainably transform conflicts in West Africa.Ramsay’s experiences as a restorative justice practitioner, facilitator, and educator build on his strengths as a connecter, compassionate listener, community builder, and his ability to communicate across cultural barriers and socially constructed divides.