Becoming the Change
The Peace Culture Club started out as just a program idea. It was inspired by real world experience and meant to help mainly the youth. We found out very fast that youth aren't the only ones in need of creative outlets to channel emotion into art. So many are in need of relief, be it youth, or even their parents; everyone faces some level of stress and adversity in their life. The residual negative effect of extended periods of time in a stressful state has been connected to everything from high blood pressure, insomnia, and even to early death. We recognized that people needed a way to process through the trauma they have had, and learn to leave it behind.
We expanded our reach in the community, looking to serve an adult artist population as well. We created the Peace Culture Club Unity Salon, and brought out artists of all kinds to create and share. The people who yearned the most were those who sought reconciliation, and social justice. They were being bombarded by negative environments and situations constantly, and we looked at ways to help them learn to become more balanced active peacemakers.
As a part of the development of our core concepts, we also delved into the world of Racial Healing. Using the art of mindfulness and hospitality, we facilitated and created a safe space for people interested in having what we liked to call, clumsy conversation around racial conciliation. We recognized that many remain ignorant and choose not to face their problem. So we helped them take the first step; to first come to terms with the fact that we all have them.
We have found that an inability to express one’s self is usually at the heart of most violence and conflicts.
Some people would say that for someone to do so much talking about their problem, it really doesn't seem to show much commitment to action toward change. From experience we would offer this for thought:
It's a fact that not all communication has to be verbal, and that creative expression eases angst brought on by the fear of judgement. To go to a mixed socioeconomic class dinner sounds superficial, but the experience you have there is profound. It changes the way you think about race. Art is unique and open for each artist to express how they want. By allowing the opportunity for these people to experiment with expressing themselves together, an energy field of love was created. Through many different forms of discussion we explored the stigmas and stereotypes, as we encouraged each other to continue trying to learn new ways to communicate and relate. From the turnout at our events it was clear most people wanted to seek a peaceful answer rather than settling their issues with violence and prejudice.
We understand that, “Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is only the result of a seeking of balance, understanding, self-expression, tolerance, and negotiation.”
It is our goal to transform the paradigm many of our country’s communities face. People are becoming more and more destructive to themselves, while being exposed to all forms of abuse, disrespect, and intolerance in their daily lives. The key is to open communication, create fair agreements, and learn to find understanding through group and personal mediation. We have committed to incorporating these principles into our classes, workshops, and art activities.
A People in Need, Hope.
"Toxic Stress", and A.C.E.'s ("Adverse Childhood Experiences") or "Childhood Trauma" are at crisis levels in our society. It has been established that these issues lie at the center of most problems we face today. Our mission from inception has been to challenge that reality and to tool people with what we call "Creative Critical Thinking Skills". Many of us don't recognize it but we are already working as peacemakers, in our home or more often in our friend circles. We want to empower each and every person with the ability to be responsible for keeping their own Peace. This is what makes the world a better place for all.
There are many children who are abused and suffer from deep depression. Abuse is an example of 1 of the 10 most common A.C.E.'s or Adverse Childhood Experiences. These are negative experiences that during the time we're growing up, effect the development of our brains. Some children with A.C.E.'s have behavioral problems and get prescribed medicines which sometimes have some very negative side effects.
Those side effects along with other outstanding factors commonly land these youth in the hospital more often then not. Throughout their life, these people often become dependent on the healthcare system. This is why some people say our medical system is becoming overwhelmed. But what if there was an intervention; a way to help them overcome the trauma and avoid long term dependency on medications?
We have been deeply involved in the work of Trauma Healing, Resiliency Training, as well as Restorative and Social justice. We understand the problems that need to be addressed from experience with the people. We set to create an action arm meant to apply what we learned. We came together starting out as just artists and organizers to collectively support and intentionally give back. What we found time after time was scarred communities desperate for Hope, and Trust.