Had thrice the privilege, pleasure and opportunity to help plan and present @ November 4, 2013, Tutor/Mentor Institute's semi-annual conference-whose focus is on mentoring young people and the entire village it takes to raise a child. Anti-violence was the general objective. The sub-title fastened on: "The Embodiment of Core Values and Key Components-a must to be employed and embraced. The ultimate outcome and objective: Help-to-Assist-Alleviate-Diminish or Curtail Crime, Violence, Gang Activity.
Goal:To create a cadre of like-minded people intended to evolve and become a loosely collaborative community partnership, to embody that small still voice, consistent with the 'Voice of Reason'. One that shall serve to allay fear and confusion while becoming the catalyst for making the neighborhood a better place to live, work and play-thus ushering-in a Safe Haven..
The workshop "Stopping The Violence" was extremely well attended with able bodied, eager, ready for prime time participants. They came especially ready to put forth a hunger and a thirst for inter-active sharing and discussion on the subject matter-seeking possible remedies and solutions to curtail violence.
It is a well known fact that the City of Chicago is saddled with the stigma of being the "Murder Capital of World". However, I hasten to add; gun violence has become a major epidemic across the Unites States. The research has shown that over 30 people ages 15 to 19 years old are fatal injured or killed by gun fire every day. Especially, in poor communities across America. Black teens are recorded at 5 times more likely to die from gun fire than their counterpart in more affluent communities. Of course, the goal of these conferences going forth by Tutor/Mentor Institute is to diminish and/or alleviate the violence. The ultimate outcome is; at all cost; to stop-the-violence. Since it is an out-of-control 'Epidemic'. The question is: how can such an out-of-control, ill fate 'epidemic be brought back under control.
Some facts to consider:
There are some discussions about limiting access to illegal guns-a thought that this may bring or have a huge impact. That being said, one of the more important things may be how to uncover or to discover or shed some light on the root cause of violence. This would bring into focus the fundamental foundational elements that perpetuates the behavior for the culture of violence. Currently, the entire modern day generation is experiencing situations out in the communities, where violence is no longer the exception, but rather the norm for behavioral attitudes.
A Glimpse of Some Possible Root Causes:
We are aware that some public schools treat young people similar to intimates, rather than like humans or students. When these situation occur, the retaliation by students is a gang culture mentality that offers an instant validation. Also there is the void of adequate health care-it is but a pipe dream. And where there are few opportunities, if any, to find a descent job. These are the types of situations that is somewhat pervasive conditions that do exist. On the other hand, access to, or the use of a gun can seemly provide a feeling of absolute control. Case and point-the recent shooting at The Los Angeles Airport of the TSA Officer.
Post Outcome Of Workshop:
>Overview of Peacemaking Circles
>A way to bring people together under the guise of trust and respect
>To discuss disagreements, confront difficulties, and make better informed decisions
>Delve into both the emotional and spiritual aspects of each individual reach agreement & solve problems
Introduction of PeaceCircles as container strong enough to hold:
~Conflict-intense feelings-diverse and different view points
~Also Truth-Joy and Peace
Peace Making Circles are created for:
A. Those harmed by crime and violence
B. Those who committed the crime
C. The community in which the crime and violence happened
D. It forms a partnership w/justice to determined most effective ways to have the most effective response to a crime and violence situation
F. Healing and safety for all concerned
Peace Making Circles in practice create the possibility for freedom to speak truth, freedom to take off the masks and false protections, freedom to be present as a whole human being, freedom to reveal your deepest longings, freedom to acknowledge mistakes and fears,
In the end: "The test of the process we make in the course of the journey of life, is not to add more abundance to those who have much; but rather it shall be wise and most prudent that we consider to focus on the provisions-of-enough for those who have little; or mere meager means, by which to strive and survive"
Steve Braxton, Mentor, Life Coach, Author, & Ordained Minister
Founder, Marketplace Ministries, Inc
Assistant Presiding Bishop
Light of Illinois Diocese of COGIC, International