On April 20-21, 2018, the Wayne State Center for Peace and Conflict Studies put on a conference discussing the root causes of violence in our communities. Hundreds from around the world joined together for this event. Check out the trailer here, and watch all the videos during the event.

 

 Violence in our communities has become a pressing concern for young and old alike.  Whether crime, drug, or weapon related, whether ethnic, social, or political in nature, the manifestations of violence, particularly in our urban streets, has taken a grave toll on individuals and families and is especially tragic and troubling for young people.
 
That message was brought out loud and clear by the high school and college age students who attended last spring’s Rotary Global Peace Conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The youth in attendance very much appreciated hearing about the causes, consequences, and potential remedies for international and civil wars, but also alerted the organizers that the one thing they missed, and that has deep and close-up personal meaning for their lives, is “Peace in the Streets.”

Therefore the Rotary Club of Detroit, in partnership with the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Wayne State University, has scheduled a “follow-on” Peace in the Streets symposium and Peace Weekend for April, 2018.  We have invited noted experts to present their insights on three key dimensions of this topic: “Peace in the Hood;” “Peace in the Home;” and “Peace in the Schools.” Important dialogue with youth will be built into the conference programming.
 
On neighborhood violence we will consider issues of crime, “gangs,” ethnic and racial groups, and police-community relations, all extremely timely and pressing these days and associated with protest movements, political and public controversy.  Dealing with issues at home, we will cover domestic and intimate partner violence (and the associated warning signs), family disputes, and inter-generational relations. Moving to schools, we consider issues of bullying, suicide prevention, diversity, and anger management. All of these topics will be covered in plenary keynote presentations and breakout workshops allowing for significant dialogue with youth in attendance.
 
The aim is to help the audience understand the roots of these dangers and threats, and to discover potentially constructive solutions and prevention strategies applicable to their own lives. In this way we hope also to nurture a sense of unity among those in attendance, in the spirit of Rotary’s efforts to foster peace both at home and abroad.
 
As an expression of such unity and a hopeful example to the community, the conference will culminate during the afternoon of April 21st with a human chain demonstration of “Hands across the Mile Roads,” literally linking citizens from the city of Detroit and its “inner ring” suburbs in a demonstration of unity along six main roads that divide communities. In its evident social and political polarity today, America needs to recall our common humanity, and the chain of hands will symbolize this strength and gain significant media coverage. 

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