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Federal judge blocks AZ law that 'disenfranchised' Native voters; government shutdown could cost U.S. travel economy about $1 Billion per week; WA group brings 'Alternatives to Violence' to secondary students.

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Senator Robert Menendez offers explanations on the money found in his home, non-partisan groups urge Congress to avert a government shutdown and a Nevada organization works to build Latino political engagement.

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An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

Community Peace Builders Instill Hope in Minneapolis

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Monday, July 25, 2022   

The summer season and violent crime can fuel narratives by the public and the media about safety in urban settings. But in Minnesota's largest city, an emerging effort aims to show that some youth want to firmly establish peace through communication.

Like many other places, Minneapolis has seen increases in violent crime in the past couple of years. On the north side, a group called Nonviolent Peaceforce is scaling up its Community Peace Builders program.

Will Wallace, a local mentor for the initiative, said a handful of young adults are trained in risk-assessment and de-escalation.

"I just think your tongue is your worst enemy," said Wallace. "They got this thing where they say, 'Oh, this summer is going to be hot, there's gonna be a lot of killing.' Well, we need to erase that."

The training emphasizes terms such as "listen" and "affirm." Peace Builders who are recruited are young adults who have overcome past issues tied to conflict in the streets.

Beyond easing tension among peers, they also provide unarmed security at local events.

Elijah O'Neal, one of the local Peace Builders, said he hopes to stifle narratives that area residents are only capable of violence.

He said he wants his peers to know they can overcome stereotypes and think about the bigger picture.

"We're not used to talking," said O'Neal. "All we're used to doing is yelling and screaming and trying to get somebody to hear us. But I'm trying to get them to understand that we could talk it out without getting so violent."

Fellow Peace Builder Markess Wilkins said one challenge is overcoming skepticism among his acquaintances. But he said he remains undeterred in convincing everyone about the path he chosen, hoping others follow suit.

"It kind of drains me a little bit," said Wilkins. "But at the end of the day, I know the work I'm doing. So, I don't ever let the putdowns get to me."

These Peace Builders began to hone their mentorship skills through the local organization EMERGE.

The training offered by Nonviolent Peaceforce has been used in conflict zones around the world.



Disclosure: Nonviolent Peaceforce contributes to our fund for reporting on Criminal Justice, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Peace, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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