NOLA AFSC IN ACTION

NOLA AFSC IN ACTION

Peace by Piece Slide Show

Thursday, July 19, 2012



Reflections From AFSC NOLA’s Peace& Justice Summer Intern
I am Rose Gilliam. I attend Joliet Junior College in Illinois where I major in Biology. I am also a past member of AFSC NOLA’s  Peace by Piece Nonviolence program. My experience during this internship has been very inspiring.  It has allowed me to once again embark on the experience of working with children.  Children have always been an inspiration of mine and this internship has allowed me to get a better understanding of how a child’s mind works.  I learned that the children I’ve been working with are very talented and that they all excel at one level or another when it comes to expressing themselves.  I appreciate this experience because it has allowed me to look back on some of my past actions and examine them thoroughly.
One of the programs that I helped with was “A Journey To LoveJewelry Showcase examining negative stereotypes in the community through jewelry making and story circles.  The children were so into the thought of being able to create a product and benefit from it.  Their personalities jumped sometimes but they always remained focused on the goal.
  My job here as an intern has required me to participate in different tasks but my main focus has been the Peace Recycled Art summer camps with local youth and preparing for the upcoming 3rd Annual Peace Is Power Giant Puppet Parade. This internship benefits me because my life goal is to work to make a change. This internship, not only looks good on my resume, but it is also preparing me for future encounters.    

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


“A Journey To Love” Jewelry Showcase

AFSC’s conflict transformation program organized 10 Social Justice Sistah Circles for young ladies ages 10-12 in preparation for a youth-led peace social justice club with A Desire for Change during the school year 2012-13. The social justice circles were held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6pm from June 12th- July 5th.  .


During the Social Justice Sistah Circles  we used jewelry making and the story circle process to discuss the connections between negative stereotypes and violence. We hosted a community jewelry showcase called “ A Journey to Love“ on July 5th at A Desire for Change from 5-7pm where we showcased handmade jewelry made by the youth participants in the social justice circles that addressed the process of love overcoming negative stereotypes and violence.


Sankore’ Youth Art Pavillion Rocks Jazz Fest!
AFSC’s Peace by Piece youth program joined the International Jazz and Heritage Music Festival to spread social justice messages to thousands of people at the Sankore’ Youth Art Pavillion from April 27-29 & May 3- 6, 2012. Take a look at the details for the recycled art projects that we shared.

The American Friends Service Committee Recycled Art Project
Our Artistic Themes
1.     Bullying/Human Rights-Anything done to harm or oppress someone/fighting for the worth and rights of everyone
2.     Criminal Justice/ Police Brutality-What is considered a crime and who is rightfully protected/ the abuse of power by authority figures.
3.     Global Violence- actions that harm people all over the world.
Social Justice Earrings- We made earrings out of recycled cardboard based on the themes listed above.  Each pair of earrings was designed by a youth artist based on stories describing our three social justice themes and twenty-five powerful words that depict the essence of each story. We have chosen to use recycled materials to display the community’s need to use all of its’ resources in light of recent natural and manmade disasters threatening the livelihood of communities worldwide. The New Orleans community is still healing from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on August 23, 2005 and the BP Oil Spill in April 2010.
Social Justice T-Shirts- We also made t-shirts with our 25 words related to our 3 themes.
Artistic Goal- Our art is based on The American Friends Service Committee’s belief in “the worth of every person” and the belief that we must use all of our resources to create change in the New  Orleans community and worldwide.
25 Powerful Words/ Phrases showcased in our Jewelry- Hope, Integrity, Dignity, Relentless, Power, Community, Justice, Push, Breaking Barriers, Change, Stand Up, Conscious, Truth, Ancestors, Remember, Give Love, Fight, Honor, No Hate Just Love, Focus, Determination, Undoing Racism, Connection, I am We are, Courage, Resistance, Under Pressure, Survivor, Not a Criminal, I am Human, Need Love, Misunderstood, Miseducation=Hate, Rage, Passion, Action, Blood Money, What's the Price, Free or Slave, Crazy or Activist, Home or Jail, Made for Profit, Made from Oppression

Thursday, July 12, 2012


New Orleans Teen Peace Summit
The American Friends Service Committee(AFSC) helped to organize the  New Orleans citywide Teen Peace Summit in partnership with CrimeStoppers,Q93 New Orleans Hip Hop radio station and 30 other youth based organizations to educate 4,000 New Orleans youth on the “power of peace” on May 19, 2012 from 12-8pm.
The American Friends Service Committee and our Peace by Piece Team helped to organize local high school cheer performances ,as well as ,the day of events that included a resource fair, youth performances, performances from National artists, and speakers/panels delivering peace themed messages. Three of AFSC’s Peace by Piece members gave peace themed performances and one of our members, Briana O’Neal, spoke on the youth panel about local community concerns surrounding a peaceful solution to violence. 
Check out the news clip here: http://www.wdsu.com/news/local-news/new-orleans/Teen-peace-summit-sends-message-to-end-violence-in-New-Orleans/-/9853400/13493186/-/11nu1yc/-/index.html

Hoodies Up: Street Stories
The American Friends Service Committee’s(AFSC) Peace by Piece youth leaders teamed up with AFSC’s Chicago Service Learning group, comprised of 38 students from several different Chicago public high schools,  to organize a youth street theatre event about the comparisons of youth violence in the Chicago community and the New Orleans community. The street performances were held at Sampson Park in the 9th Ward neighborhood in New Orleans on April 4, 2012 from 2-5pm.

This event was part of a collaborative Peace Social Justice Learning Exchange program between the AFSC NOLA office and the AFSC Chicago office. Prior to this youth event AFSC’s peace community activist, Ahmane’ Glover,  traveled to Chicago in October and taught nonviolence to 6 high school classes and taught a 1 day “puppet making for social justice” class at AFSC Chicago where students created 5 giant puppets for youth involvement in the Occupy Chicago Movement. The April 4th youth event in NOLA was the culminating project for the Peace Social Justice Learning Exchange program.

Dreams Are Weapons: I am NOT A Statistic


Youth around the world are crying out for help with recent acts of violence from the Ohio school shooting to a continuous stream of citywide shootings in New Orleans. Our response to this outcry is providing positive alternatives to violence with our Dreams Are Weapons youth event in the Desire Neighborhood in the 9th Ward at Sampson Park on 3100 Louisa St.
This event was designed to increase crime prevention awareness, develop positive youth alternatives to violent crimes, and generate support for and participate in local peace and justice programs. Together we took a positive step to strengthening the neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships to fight against community violence.
Around 160 youth in the neighborhood participated in our “Swagga Like Us” youth talent showcase, “Hollywood Star Walk” art display encouraging all youth to create a “Hollywood” star filled with their dreams on street pavement, “Desire A Future” street theatre showcasing the history of community violence and our ability to overcome, resource tabling to share positive community programs, music, refreshments and much more.
The sponsoring groups of this event were A Desire For Change and The American Friends Service Committee. They also joined forces with numerous community organizations to build a culture of peace for New Orleans youth. Community Partners included: The New Orleans Recreation Department Commission(NORDC), The New Orleans Police Department Crime Prevention Unit(CrimeStoppers), Desire Fellowship, The Leona Tate Foundation, C.U.R.E, DARC, Carver Desire Baptist Church, CDC 58:12 and The Sampson Playground.

ReThink New Orleans Ant- Bullying Campaign


The Peace by Piece nonviolent interns provides conflict reduction and nonviolence training to ReThink students.  The ReThink New Orleans Club at Langston Hughes Academy contacted AFSC’s Peace by Piece Nonviolent Interns to help facilitate a anti-bullying campaign at their school, where students learned the levels of conflict and principles of nonviolence. At the end of this learning experience students organized an artistic school wide activity for Langston Hughes students led by the ReThink Club. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Designing Our Freedom: The Oppression Fashion Show
“And I am more than just a number, more than a percent sign, more than a statistic. I am more than what you’ve heard. What you’ve saw and what you’ve learned. I am more than my social status. I’m reaching as far as I can get. Making moves through splits and dips, I’ve yet to commit. I’m better than what you expect. 99% of the wealth is kept by 1% of the world. But I’m still the one although I am the 99%.”

Short powerful narratives like the one you read above, written by 17 year old Keiandr√© Hall, were written and performed by 15 talented youth from five youth programs throughout the New Orleans community at our Oppression Fashion Show at The George & Leah Mckenna Museum of African American Art on Saturday Nov. 5, 2011 from 6-9pm. Keiandr√©’ is a youth member of The Institute for Women& Ethnic Studies’ Mapp Program and her story discusses one of our 3 fashion show themes, poverty. Her story accompanied her self made t-shirt design as she ripped the runway at our Oppression Fashion Show.

The Oppression Fashion Show was organized by The American Friends Service Committee’s Peace Community Activist, Ahmane’ Glover in partnership with A Desire for Change and The Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies(IWES).  The Oppression Fashion Show was designed as a social justice arts initiative that used fashion design to discuss the connections between poverty, violence and poor education systems locally and globally.  Each youth participant was given the task of "redesigning the white tee," a fashion trend that is often associated with negativity, with positive social justice focused messages and creating full outfits that told the stories of our youth on each of the three topics.

We also showcased a variety of youth talent through 9 social justice themed youth performances and 3 digital stories about sexual education created by The Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies(IWES) Mapp Program. The youth performances showcased  11 youth doing rap and dance combinations about violence, a inspirational liturgical dance routine asking youth to “encourage yourself,” 1 modern dance routine about breaking through violence in relationships, and 1 theatrical monologue from “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange.  The 3 digital stories presented by IWES were about AIDS education, sexual education in schools, and sexual health.

This program organized participants ages 16-24 from several different programs in "Designing Our Freedom.” Those youth programs were: the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies’ MAPP Program, Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center’s Ujima Project, The American Friends Service Committee Peace by Piece program, NOPLAY GED Program and students from Tulane University.
The idea for The Oppression Fashion Show first came from a discussion with Mireaya Medina in The American Friends Service Committee’s Portland Office. Mireaya participated in a Fashion Resistance to Militarism in Oakland organized by the Women Of Color Resource Center with Sandra Schwartz in 2009 (http://www.fpif.org/articles/fashioning_resistance_to_militarism). The New Orleans office heard of this great idea and decided to host a similar event in our community with a focus on t-shirt design and the top 3 challenges that our youth face locally and globally.

A Night Out Against Crime
“Tonight was the best night of my life,” says a nine year old from the Desire Neighborhood after her “stomp the violence” dance contest performance at our Night Out Against Crime community event.

These feelings were also felt throughout the Desire neighborhood amongst other youth that attended the 28th Annual National Night Out Against Crime event on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 for neighborhoods throughout the Greater New Orleans Area. The American Friends Service Committee’s New Orleans office joined forces with the Desire For Change community group, Desire Fellowship church group, The City of New Orleans, The New Orleans Police Department Crime Prevention Unit(CrimeStoppers) and the Sampson Neighborhood Park to plan a local youth focused event to celebrate a commitment to peace in the New Orleans community.

Our Sampson Park Night Out Against Crime event in the Desire neighborhood in the 9th Ward was designed to increase crime prevention awareness, develop positive youth alternatives to violent crimes, and generate support for and participate in local peace and justice programs. The primary focus of all the event partners was to strengthen the neighborhood spirit in the 9th Ward community and to increase police-community partnerships to fight against community violence.

The New Orleans community hosted over 249 gatherings in honor of the national Night Out Against Crime campaign. To promote community planning efforts, The New Orleans Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit(CrimeStoppers) held a contest to award the best youth focused neighborhood events. The American Friends Service Committee along with several community partners won second place in this contest earning a $200 donation from CrimeStoppers, two local television news appearances by Night Out Against Crime organizers, CrimeStoppers youth gift packages, and visits from local law enforcement to our Night Out Against Crime event.

Our award winning event hosted approximately 165 youth of color in four “stomp the violence” themed activities.  Youth participated in our “Stomp the Violence” dance contest, “Dodge the Violence” dodge ball game, “Kick N’ Free” kick ball game, “Peace is Power” street art activities and much more. There were also live musical performances by local youth activists and refreshments.

The National Night Out Against Crime campaign has proven to be an effective, inexpensive and enjoyable program to promote neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships in our fight for a safer city. New Orleans has 97 neighborhood watch groups and around 160 people signed commitment cards to start or join their neighborhood watch groups because of Night Out Against Crime activities according to New Orleans Mayor, Mitch Landrieu, in a nola.com interview.

New Orleans Youth Say, “Give me Justice, Give me Peace, Give me Unity!”
New Orleans youth are crying out for a stop to violence! Our response to this outcry is “The Second Annual Peace is Power Giant Puppet Parade” organized by The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in partnership with The Leona Tate Foundation, O. Perry Walker High School, Be Creative Studios and Skookum Productions. The parade was held on Saturday September 17, 2011 from 5-8pm at Duncan Plaza across from New Orleans City Hall. Around 157 parade participants met at Duncan Plaza and marched for a mile and a half through downtown New Orleans and Canal St.  back to Duncan Plaza.

 This year’s parade was filled with lanterns and lights meant to set our nonviolence message ablaze. Sponsoring groups of the parade worked with local community organizations to build 35 puppets of varying sizes to reflect the peace themes of New Orleans youth. The subtheme of this year’s parade was: Celebrating Unity and Diversity in Communities.

Youth groups met at places like, The Desire Change Summer Camp and The Leona Tate Foundation Summer program, starting in June 2011 to build the puppets that were showcased in the parade. During these workshops, youth and community members were asked to express their feelings about peace through the creation of giant puppets like “ the house of light and laughter” which was a giant house where angry puppets went into the house and came out happy, the “world of diversity and love” that lit up and was surrounded by hands of love combating fists of anger and much more. Twelve local organizations marched with their puppets to the music of a  New Orleans brass band and african drummers, as parade onlookers second lined with the passing peace puppets.

 Dixie Moore, an art teacher at O. Perry Walker High School, also organized her art classes to build four large puppets representing the African Adinkra symbol for peace meaning “bite not one another.”  We also hosted a youth talent showcase before the parade that included performances from the O. Perry Walker Dance Assemble to earth song by Micheal Jackson to address the state of the environment in New Orleans, Luckylou with a nonviolence rap and dance combination called  “Stomp the Violence” and five other local youth performers with social justice messages.
                                                                                                                             
This parade was created based on the belief that creative arts and social justice work hand in hand in youth peace building work. So in celebration of the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21, 2011, we offered a Peace is Power Giant Puppet Parade on Sept. 17th to renew our community pledge to a nonviolent environment for the youth of New Orleans. Local youth joined the community of national social activists in using the age old tradition of theatrical puppet pageantry for community empowerment.