by Naeemah Jackson, Family Programs Director Stereotypes are misleading. Stereotypes are harmful. Stereotypes are incredibly counter-productive, and they can be anathema to the truth of a person, and/or a group of people. Even city zip codes can reinforce negative stereotyping of the people who live within these boundaries. High property taxpayers vs. renters. Let us together demolish a pernicious stereotype. As an example, I am referencing Blackburn Terrace Apartment Complex which is located within the 46218 zip code in Indianapolis, IN; a zip code which is considered to be a "hot spot." Blackburn has its share of crime - which of course never fails to make it to the local evening news. After all, "if it bleeds, it leads." However, the level of scrutiny many neighborhoods and their residents receive - and the level of outrage and condemnation which the community at large can heap upon them is too often out of proportion; and, too often ignored are the constructive and positive activities and initiatives that are a daily occurrence. There is more good than bad. An example of a meritorious effort being carried out at the Blackburn Terrace Complex, among other proactive work being done by the staff, is the introduction of Peace Learning Center's Connect and Communicate (CC) Program. These multi-generational workshops have proven to be efficacious in the past at working with families to make what is good and righteous in the family, even better. We
by Naeemah Jackson, Family Programs Director On 6 July 2017, my beloved Grandson, Dyani K. Saunders-Gammon was murdered. He had been on this earth for 22 years, 4 months and 6 days. With that, how do I, the Director of Family Programming at Peace Learning Center – a seasoned Peace Educator and fierce advocate of such – how do I reconcile the anger and deep sorrow in my heart? How do I look at my work in the same optimistic way? Do I allow my rage and grief to drag me into the waters of revenge and hate? Or, do I seize this moment to lay bare my pain to myself; and search for inner paths that lead to what largesse I can muster for his killer? Is my Truth wide enough – deep enough –high enough to wrap arms around the person who perpetrated this heinous deed? To forgive them? To even begin to try and understand their life; their motivations; their reality? Will the lessons I teach to families fall upon my ears and hearts in the manner I hope it falls upon theirs? Bottom line, will I practice what I preach? Will the lessons I teach to families fall upon my ears and hearts in the manner I hope it falls upon theirs? Bottom line, will I practice what I preach? Right now, at this very moment, as I write these words, I
Family "Rules" We Live By Our house has a revolving door. Our friends, neighbors and kids friends are always stopping by and sometimes stay for a day or two or....more. I often wonder why these individuals like to "hang out" at our house. My ego says "WOW! We must be great parents and friends!" So I went on a quest and asked why our home is their "landing hub" and here's the answers I received: Your house is so calm and peaceful. There's no judgments made here. I feel like part of your family. It keeps me out of my parent's "messes" and makes me feel calm. I love that you always do things together and I feel included. This made me realize that the rules we try to live by in our home are working - although, admittedly, we aren't always successful at following them ourselves. We're not perfect, but we try and that has to count for something, right? So, here are some of the family rules we live by, not in any specific order, that I'd like to share with you. We don't have all the answers, I just know these work for us in our home. GIVE: It doesn't have to me money or material things. Give your time and share your talents. WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK: We all have tasks that need to be done on a regular basis, so no point complaining about them.
Three Steps to Peace At the core, Restorative Practices are about building and sustaining positive relationships and community. This is why family relationships can benefit tremendously by implementing components of Restorative Practices. Much of what I've learned about peace comes from my family, who've helped me instill a sense of love and belonging in my heart. Family is a funny thing when you think about it. You would not know many of the people in your extended family if you were not related to them. You probably would not work with them, nor live in the same neighborhood, but there's something that ties us all together. It is sad when families break apart because two or more people cannot work out their differences. Practicing peace skills can help and there are great lessons for families in our peacemaking curriculum that is based on Restorative Practices. Let's explore three simple concepts: Attack the problem not the person. Imagine if we focused on the problem rather than blaming and shaming others when we sense a wrong has happened. Ask questions before making assumptions about other people's intentions.How many times do we get into disagreements and walk away rather than resolving things? Many times we feel uncomfortable and make assumptions about the other person's intentions for a perceived slight or act of disrespect.What about asking questions in the moment when we feel uncomfortable or feel as if we are being attacked. Questions like,"Is
Single moms and Indianapolis crime: 'The streets raised him' by Kristine Guerra, email@example.com 9:36 a.m. EDT October 24, 2014 We're so proud of Levia and Jalen Heffner who were featured in today's IndyStar, for their strength and courage to make positive changes in their lives! "Heffner also credits the Peace Learning Center. She and her children went through the organization's Connect and Communicate program, which focuses on preventing violence through education and counseling and providing financial help to parents. The sessions with Heffner and her family focused on the day-to-day struggles. Heffner learned to manage finances better. Jalen learned to settle even the most mundane household disputes, like taking out the trash." The Heffners are just one of many families that have been empowered through Peace Learning Center's Connect & Communicate program which is made possible thanks to investments from the Women's Fund, a Central Indiana Community Foundation Fund, and the Clowes Fund. Click here to read the Indy Star's article. Click here to download a PDF copy of the article.