Kansas City Neighborhoods Join the Peace Party

22 year old Darien, in his 3rd year at UMKC, was quiet for the first hour of the session, but a discussion about the choices we make in conflict situations, brought him fully into the conversation.  In 2011, 2 of Darien’s close friends were shot and killed, because of arguments arising from interpersonal conflict.  When his friends started frequenting spots known for violent events, Darien made the choice to separate from his group and find a different path.  Because of his choice and the trauma that followed, he experienced extreme sadness and guilt for not being there for his friends.  The circle participants listened to this exceptional young man talk through his thoughts and feelings, and held the space as he took a step toward healing.

The Community Mediation Center and the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department’s Aim4Peace organization have come together with a new project, supported by the JAMS Foundation, “The Road to Restoration.”  The goal is to introduce the concepts of Restorative Justice and Peaceful Conflict Resolution to urban communities.    In October we began a series of one-hour information sessions and invited residents to open discussions focused on the principles of Resotrative Justice, where all parties come face to face to find ways to make as right as possible harm that has occured.  The informational sessions precede in-depth 4 hour sessions dedicated to learning about, discovering and mining attitudes, perception and necessary skills relating to conflict resolution. A circle format creates an environment of trust that invites honesty and self-disclosure and weaves that together with known conflict resolution concepts and the choice to do conflict differently.

Five more one-hour sessions and the remaining 4 hour sessions will resume in January 2013.  Each session brings a new opportunity filled with expectancy and gratitude for the opportunity to interact with interesting and eager Kansas Citians. Welcome to the Peace Party!

For information about the remaining sessions call 816-461-8255.

Comments welcome!

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