Highlights from the Youth Peace Summit

The Youth Peace Summit was a great success. Here are some highlights.

We had about 130 teens from all over the region. We opened the day with a fun ice breaker, followed by a more serious viewing of the film
about racial barriers to success, “Structural Discrimination: The Unequal Opportunity Race.” Teens processed the video and the issues it raised in small Summit 2016 Unequalgroup discussions led by teen leaders trained by the peace center.

The rest of the day was packed with engaging workshops, many led by community partners, including: Keep the Peace Conflict Resolution; Drumming with Drums No Guns; Challenging the School to Prison Pipeline with H.O.M.E; Dance Expression with B.A.S.E.; Know Your Rights with the ACLU of Virginia; Shockoe Bottom History with Ana Edwards; Recognizing Mental Illness with N.A.M.I.; Anger Management; Healthy Relationships; Sudanese Cooking; Understanding Islam, and much more.

After lunch, the Peace Center Presented a Youth Activism JordanAward to Hermitage High School student Jordan Chapman, who launched the successful effort to change the name of Byrd Middle School.

We want to share some of the feedback we got from teens who attended Saturday:

What is one thing you learned today?

  • It is good to look at both sides of the argument.
  • Be calm about fights.
  • It doesn’t matter what color skin you have, we are all equal.
  • I learned how to play the drums.
  • I learned to be positive and forgive others.Summit 16_3
  • I learned about Gabriel’s Rebellion.
  • I learned how to make a Sudanese dish.
  • Helping the youth today is key to a more tolerant tomorrow.
  • I learned: ‘watch what you text to other people.’
  • I learned a lot about yoga and the many personal health benefits.
  • Being healthy.
  • If we listen to our kids, they will talk.
  • I learned about other cultures.
  • That anger is not always bad.
  • I learned how to express my feelings through drumming and dancing, and about the history of Hip Hop.
  • Use team work.
  • I learned to change the community, help the environment, and communicate with others.

What did you like best about today?

  • Leading a workshop.
  • Having fun.
  • Knowing your rights.
  • Meeting new people.
  • Entertainment.
  • Spending time and learning with friends.
  • Educating other teens about domestic abuse.
  • Meeting new people and interacting with others.
  • Relating with other people through music.
  • I have improved as a person.
  • The “My Identity and Place” workshop.
  • Diversity and best friends.
  • Coming together as one and finding out what is different about each other.
  • Dance
  • Meeting new people and hearing their stories.
  • Food.
  • Getting to learn new things.
  • Banging the drums.
  • Meeting great people.

Thanks to all who made this extraordinary conference for Richmond-area teenagers possible.