Caption: Two people are presenting a posterboard in a room.
Written by Briel Slocum, Youth and Young Adult Assistant
On Earth Peace uses Kingian Nonviolence as a key framework for its organizing work. Within OEP there are multiple opportunities in which the people we work with are encouraged to learn these beliefs and then apply them within their communities and everyday life.
Currently in Youth and Young Adult (YYA) peace formation, we are inviting youth and children from different areas in location and faith to be young stewards and strive to promote social justice. Young leaders arise in youth groups and clubs all the time. On Earth Peace aids towards further developing ideas and helping youth to execute leadership in a nonviolent way. For many youth, exploring justice areas can be something brand new and needs a lot of careful planning and recognition that there are layers when striving towards change. It is my job as the YYA intern to talk to youth groups so the work that is produced truly helps the community and does not harm.
Right now, there are three groups we are working with in an effort to serve a community of people. All projects hold a different purpose and are reaching different parts of their journey. With help from webinars and a grant of $500 these groups are taking off in research, planning and implementing the community engagement projects they are passionate to offer. Currently, we have a group working on a community garden and a group working on ways to encourage and educate children to be more vocal on racial justice and advocacy within their school district.
A third project that is going on for our Community Engagement Grant is a project with a group called Agape Satyagraha in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This group is one of the groups that are meeting in person and are currently able to work on site. They have multiple focuses in the work they are doing in the community and for the development of children and young adults in the Agape Satyagraha program. Earlier in the year, they did work regarding racial justice and created a social justice library in the church for the community. This project was expressed through inclusion of diverse books, children’s stories and murals painted around the community for visual effects. They then began a food insecurity project in which friendly cook offs were held, multiple presentations on the importance for healthy meals were given and work was done at local mini farmers market, which is located down the street from the church.
Recently the group decided from now leading into the new year they want to focus on Children’s Justice. This has been a pleasant process of agreeing children are deeply important to everyone. The group has identified five things they would like to do with this project. Those ideas were then considered and spread out; placed in bigger subcategories. Currently, people are answering specific questions related to a chosen focus area to help lead the process of what needs to be considered for implementing different areas of focus. After this information gathering stage, presentations will be given and the three that are voted upon will be put into practice over the course of several months. This group takes care to learn strategies from Kingian Nonviolence and apply it in their organizing work. This is just the thing we are hoping to cultivate in young Peacemakers.
If you know of a youth group (or individual youth) with exciting ideas about engaging their community for peace & justice, encourage them to apply for a Community Engagement Grant through On Earth Peace by clicking here!