Peer-to-peer learning is proving to be an effective way to promote nonviolence in New Orleans. Through Peace by Piece, a youth-led program of AFSC’s New Orleans program, interns and community partners train youth in conflict resolution and violence reduction using arts and activism.
“The culture of violence is way too familiar to young people in New Orleans. Workshops and events like the Transforming Oppression Fashion Show and Sampson Park Night out Against Crime bring the community together and provide options for young people keeping them engaged in positive activities,” explains Glenn Sullivan, 2014 Peace by Piece intern.
AFSC’s partners include many organizations and community members working to address crime in New Orleans. The program works in schools and neighborhood programs, and includes activities that empower young people to identify sources and root causes of conflict. Exercises in identity, self-worth, and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s concept of the “Beloved Community” help students understand the viability of nonviolence as a lifestyle. Facilitators use spoken word, skits, songs, and story circles as tools for creating nonviolence.
Peace by Piece interns work with two neighborhood groups, Freedom Street Library and A Desire for Change. Both organizations are working to transform public spaces that support youth development, youth-at-play, and youth safety.
By building relationships, creating options, and having a good time, AFSC is working to create peace in New Orleans, one young person at a time.