“Yes, he is in town!” The e-mail came from Congressman Cleaver’s assistant, Holly Jenkins, regarding an appointment Diane Kyser and I had to meet with the Congressman.
Several days before, Ms. Jenkins contacted me to say there was a chance he would be called to Washington for a House vote on the Continuing Resolution to provide funding for the Federal Government. Shutdown averted, we were able to spend a valuable 45 minutes with him and Kaeanna Wood, his Community Liaison who specializes in grants and education issues.
Three years ago, with the help of Congressman Cleaver, the Community Mediation Center (CMC) received a grant from the Edward R. Byrne Discretionary Fund to do Conflict Resolution and Bullying Prevention Training in schools. This meeting was our opportunity to let him know that over 3,200 Kansas City area children and youth had interacted with conflict resolution specialists from CMC. We wanted to thank him for his support and to look for ways to continue our work in schools.
In response to our stories about seeing the transforming effects of Restorative Justice, which involves face to face encounters to clear up misunderstandings, invoke self-responsibility and make a plan to move forward, Congressman Cleaver said, “I am fully on board with the Restorative Justice Concept and will support your work any way I can”.
I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet an intelligent, intense and compassionate example of leadership. Despite the many challenges he faces, Congressman Cleaver is dedicated to finding ways to provide conflict resolution assistance and training for the children and youth of Kansas City. Welcome to the Peace Party!
You are invited! CMC offers Interpersonal Conflict Resolution Training for adults. Learning to manage daily conflict in peaceful ways is life-changing. The next training is scheduled for March 2012. Contact CMC to register.