Sunday, 14 April 2013

Peaceful Conflict Resolution
  Peace Jam Buffalo’s Conference Trip
PeaceJam Buffalo went to the PeaceJam NE Conference in at U-Conn Storrs April 5-7, and it was fantastic. Thanks to many kind donors, we were able to bring seven teens to the conference. Featured Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams got that prize in 1997 due to the successful banning of landmines internationally (the US remains one of the holdouts). She has turned her focus to robot killers. A Google search brings up movies, but scientists are developing robots that operate on land, sea, and air that will, under specified circumstances, kill people without any human intervention (today’s drones still have an operator). The youth were excited by Jody’s presence, her zeal to stop militarism, her down-to-earth ways, and her interest in them.
They were also inspired by each other. They loved being part of an international movement, something bigger than themselves; as well as being surrounded by a couple hundred like minded peers working for nonviolence, peace, and justice. About a dozen people from Newtown were there, talking about their pain and devoted action. The Newtown teens gave a workshop about their lobbying and organizing. Our Buffalo youth gave a hip-hop dance workshop which was a big hit. Co-Adviser Jan Burns (of Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, co-sponsor and host to PeaceJam Buffalo) and I couldn’t attend as we also gave a workshop, on - you guessed it – Peaceful Conflict Resolution, but our Carlanda Wilson was able to go and videotape the workshop. [You can see the video by/ at_____________.]
PeaceJammers also presented their Global Call to Action (GCA) project to Jody and each other. (The youth are the ones to pick their own project.) PeaceJam Buffalo’s GCA is focused on Breaking the Cycle of Violence, and doing it by “coming together as one”- CTAO - gathering for discussion, planning, working, and increasing understanding through increased community. Discussion is to include Restoring the Earth’s Environment, Stopping Child Maltreatment, and Ending Racism and Hate. Please join us on June 1, 11 am, at St. Columba-Brigid, 75 Hickory St, Buffalo where we will have a very diverse gathering which will include education, inspiration, and action. It’ll be a win-win for sure.
Lastly, our PeaceJammers are not only inspired but inspiring. Whenever I told anyone I was from Buffalo, they always said, “Oh, your kids are wonderful!” or “Yes, _ [name] ____ is in my family group! I learned so much from her” or “He is so great, one of the best people I know!” They met with enthusiastic appreciation at the contra-dance they went to as invited - a first for all of them – at the UCC Church where we stayed. I felt very proud of them, as would/will you. Please remember to save the date of June 1 as described above, and you’ll feel new hope for the future. We look forward to seeing you there.

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