Hang out and get to know members of New York’s largest civilian peace force. Raise a glass and a fork together. See old friends, make some new ones. Play a ridiculous trivia game with us. Bid on cool stuff in our silent auction (including the painting I made, above.) Participate in a super fun interactive art project.
Most importantly, do your part to build peace in our city, one conflict at a time. Help us keep mediation free, safe, and confidential. Here’s just one of many examples of our peacebuilding work you’ll support by joining us on November 5th. (Details changed to protect our clients’ confidentiality,)
Two youth were arrested for setting fire to a community garden, in a minority neighborhood. The garden – created by the sweat equity of the community on an abandoned lot – held tremendous significance to the neighborhood, as a meeting place, a symbol of solidarity, a place for youth to learn about agriculture, and an oasis of beauty and peace. The youths’ offense was understandably interpreted by the community as an act of racist arson – and an act that seriously damaged an incredibly meaningful community resource. The offenders’ parents offered to pay for a new garden – but this only exacerbated the anger in the community. The court turned to New York Peace Institute to find a way to hold the youth accountable and maintain peace in the community. We facilitated a dialogue process – which brought together more than 25 people, including the young offenders and their parents; community garden leaders; concerned citizens; and the local fire marshal.
As a result of the dialogue, the youth were no longer seen as racist arsonists – but as teenagers who acted irresponsibly when they let a bonfire get out of control. The remorse they expressed truly resonated with the community: it was the first time the young offenders fully understood the real impact their actions had on the community. It was also the first time the community members were able to hear and understand that the youths’ act, while irresponsible, was not racially motivated or malicious. Together, the participants – youth and community members alike — agreed on a plan for moving forward in a way that held the youth accountable, while healing the community. This included: the youth working side-by-side with the community gardeners to rebuild the damaged areas, and the youth giving presentations to local schools about the impact of their actions on themselves and the community. The youth upheld their agreement, and were embraced as members of the very community they had harmed.
This story exemplifies how we roll, and how in these divided times, our work is ever so urgent. Hope to see you on the 5th. Get your tix and all the info you need here. Come as you are.