Peace by Piece Slide Show

Friday, November 16, 2012

3rd Annual Peace is Power Parade: The Struggle to Walk On

Showing up at the park, it was a beautiful afternoon filled with sunlight and high energy. The park, acting as the main station for the event, was cheerfully dressed with signs for positive creative inspiration including tables with fun activities like face painting and making faces to carry during the parade. As an intern I joined with the volunteers setting up and having a good time when people started to arrive and the events began. The theme of Ubuntu was a shock of electrifyingly positive energy built around a solid connection with community. Fortunately for this event that connection was available, alive and kickin’ with people participating all along the age spectrum from babies to grandparents.
Outside of the park however the parade was a struggle. The puppets were heavier than expected and the wind, though refreshing, pushed its way against us tearing at the construction of our men and women wildly waving on poles. But despite all this we persevered with determination and good cheer to hoist our puppets and banners ever forward down the parade route. Having gone through it all taught me the importance of never giving up and remaining strong in the face of times that seem tough because in the end it’ll all pay off.
The Peace is Power Giant Puppet Parade is an annual event created by AFSC NOLA community activist Ahmane’ Glover to celebrate the International Day of Peace. This years’ event held on Sept. 15, 2012 marked the third year of the parade. The subtheme was Ubuntu: I am my brother, I am my sister, We are each other.

 This parade was created based on the belief that creative arts and social justice work hand in hand in youth peace building work. We offer this event annually to renew our community pledge to a nonviolent environment for the youth of New Orleans. Our parade brings a unique focus to the age old tradition of using theatrical puppet pageantry for community empowerment.

For pictures of the event:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wanna a SNAC? A Sampson Night Against Crime(SNAC)

The “29th Annual National “Night Out Against Crime” was held on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 from 5:30-7:30pm for neighborhoods throughout the Greater New Orleans Area. The American Friends Service Committee partnered with A Desire For Change community group to host our “Night Out Against Crime” at the Sampson Park in the 9th Ward Neighborhood to celebrate a commitment to peace in our communities.

We personalized our “Night Out Against Crime” event by renaming it Wanna a SNAC? A Sampson Night Against Crime(SNAC). We had great community activities that included: “Serve It Up Hot” dance contest, “Squash the Hate” Balloon Frenzy, “Recipes For Peace” street art activities, and a SNAC School Supply Give Away. We also provided refreshments donated by local community group, Desire Fellowship. We were reminded why events like this are so important when a young man affiliated with  FYRE Youth Squad, a local youth group, was murdered coming from another “Night Out” Against Crime event in the city. (

Erick’s Reflections on Night Out Against Crime 2012

This past October while working with The American Friends Service Committee,  I was able to put my feelings to the test as I assisted in organizing the school supply drive for the 9th ward community. The school supply drive was for “Night Out Against Crime”.  This event symbolizes New Orleans residents coming together as a community and having alternative activities besides crime.
 The reason organizing this school supply drive was so dear to my heart is because prior to my internship at AFSC, I volunteered for the 9th ward youth Global Festival at Sampson Park. At this event a kid asked his mom “Mom, school is starting and I will need school supplies?” The mom replied “ok”, while looking at another individual and saying “I need to see what I’m going to do about getting this boy supplies for school.”
So this scenario encouraged me to find a way to help this family and many more with this problem in the Desire community. Once we began organizing “Night Out Against Crime” I felt that this would be a great opportunity to organize this school supply drive.
 Some obstacles that I had to face while organizing this event included lack of school supply donations and lack of volunteer workers. I had to step the momentum up to get my vision into action. In order to step up my momentum I sent out more proposals for donations and I also networked in the community to attract more volunteers.
In order to ensure the event’s success I also set the goal for myself to supply 100 students with school supplies, but I went above and beyond my goal. I was able to supply more than 200 students with supplies. I must say I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this if it wasn’t for my fellow AFSC interns. I really appreciate their long hours and determination to make my event a success.
Balloon Frenzy!!
The kids participating in Ballon Frenzy, We had a BLAST!!
Volunteers passing out the school supplies!!
Anthony, Leon, Jonah, and Jonathan voluteers passing out school supplies!!
The kids Serving it up Hott for the Dance Contest!

Clarence and Nicholas blowing up balloon for Balloon Frenzy!