Peace by Piece Slide Show

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My name is Austin smith this is my second year returning as an AFSC intern. I've become more invested in our work this year and I have grown as a person throughout this new semester. I intended to use my new found knowledge and apply it to real life and that's what I did. If you asked me,“ what was one thing that I learned here this year?” I would tell you that I learned taking action to change the use of violence and oppression in society is important because it will have an ever lasting effect.
Just like it has many years before us. I've grown to realize if you get involved in situations because you haven't personally dealt with it, doesn't mean it doesn't effect what goes on around you. I really started expressing myself and to became more observant.
At first I didn't agree with being nonviolent myself but the idea of it is great. I just figured with the society I live in, you can't be nonviolent. It was just the way it was, and I didn't see anything wrong with that.
Then I realized that is the reason why this work is important.
If we continue to just let it slide and go with the idea that society works in that way, we would never do anything to change it. I feel though that I’m working better with achieving the goal of being a nonviolent peace leader. We've dealt with issues promoting nonviolence and increasing the peace within communities. and helping them be aware of what’s going on. We’ve been doing many events and through each event I’ve found that my opinion does matter, no matter how much I think it doesn't.
My name is Jerrica, and I am a Haitian woman. I speak 3 different languages (French, Creole, and English). I am an undergraduate student in New Orleans, and I will be graduating this semester with a bachelor degree.I am involve a lot in school. I am a UNO Ambassador Leader, which is student who work with the school president; I am in Phi Alpha Delta organization, which is student who are pre-law and planning to go to law school one day, I am Pi Sigma Alpha, which is a political science honor society, and the list goes on. After I graduate this December, I am going to get ready for law school. As for my personality, I am easy going and a positive person. I am very ambitious,smart, focus,anxious, bossy, dependable, critical, and goofy. Most of the time, I study a lot, read political books and articles, and do research on my career. I work hard and play less. I am a very busy person, but when I do have free time, I listen to some R&B songs, write poetry, go to a theater to watch a movie, or play with my siblings. On Sundays I teach a class full of 40 children from 1 year old to 13 year old, and I am also the President of the Children Department of the Sunday School at my church.

My name is Kendall D. Santacruze and I am an intern at American Friends Service Committee in New Orleans. I’m a singer, rapper, an outstanding dancer, and a well rounded individual. I do my very best to critique and perfect my talents. I have performed all over for some of the biggest events in New Orleans to college events in Florida and Washington D.C. around the White House. I am now in the midst of performing with several different dance crews, two music groups. I learned so much from AFSC.  I learned how to do more efficient computer work, how to MC an event and how to build a great resume. I feel ready to take on the issues hurting my community with the knowledge that AFSC has taught me. I’m looking forward to doing the internship again.


Transforming Oppression: 

The Third Annual Youth Fashion Show

The New Orleans Peace Building and Conflict Transformation Project recently hosted its Third Annual Transforming Oppression Fashion Show Saturday, November 26, 2013 at Christian Unity Church.  This year’s show included twelve models and performances by seven local youth artist acts.  Staff and interns chose three themes for this year’s show:  Vortex of Violence, Lost Generation and Living Wage. 

Traditionally, Peace by Piece has invited youth and young adults to participate in the Fashion Show by issuing them white t-shirts and asking participants to transform the shirt to tell a story about how social issues such as violence, poverty and poor education (to name a few) impact their lives.  The white tee, to which it is often referred, is a clothing item that is targeted by authority figures because of its popularity among young African Americans who don the casual apparel as a simple fashion statement. 

Designers adorned their shirts with illustrations reflective of this year’s themes.  Models wanted to use their designs to demonstrate the connection between poverty, violence and the untimely deaths of their peers.  Participants attended a workshop where they got a crash course in the definition of oppression and the manifestations thereof.  They also did visioning where they imagined translating their experiences w/violence, loss of young lives and lack of employment opportunities into rhetorical images to be displayed on white tees and hoodies for the show.

This year hoodies were added to the Fashion Show line-up.  The same concept applied; transform the hoodies to tell stories of injustice and oppression.  The hoody is another wardrobe feature made popular by a certain race, class and age demographic and a symbol of how vulnerable to bigotry one becomes when wearing it.  The term “hoody” has been propelled into the American English lexicon as a result of the death of Trayvon Martin.  New Orleans, like many major cities, has its own catalog of victims whose young lives have been lost to violence.  Hoodies and white tees are emblematic of the profiling and violence consistently encountered by the Black community, particularly Black youth.  The show raises audience awareness of such violence and allows young people to creatively frame their stories using fashion and art.  

The Fashion Show has become a staple of the New Orleans Peace Building and Conflict Transformation Project.  The program is preparing to leverage the event to have an even greater impact on crime in the city.  AFSC New Orleans wants to see a reduction in the murder rate and will continue to build programming that addresses the extraordinary levels of crime that consume youth culture.  In 2014, Peace by Piece will produce an anecdotal log that chronicles the murders of people ages 0-24.  The log will be used as a tool to raise awareness and engage youth, families, activists, school and city officials in solution-based dialogue that addresses and presents alternatives to violence.  Peace by Piece will continue to produce its annual fashion show to give young people a platform to design their own freedom one young person at a time.