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ERIC Number: EJ962354
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0895-6855
Chicago's Peace Warriors
Haga, Kazu
Rethinking Schools, v26 n2 p33-37 Win 2011-2012
In 2009, Chicago witnessed 458 murders--more than the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Many of those killings involved teenagers. Kingian Nonviolence is a training curriculum developed out of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by two of his close allies, Bernard Lafayette Jr. and David Jehnsen. Used in schools, prisons, and communities around the world, it provides a framework to understand conflict and violence, and teaches communities a way to build peace. King believed that nonviolence is not a passive, but a proactive force that can defeat violence and injustice. It is not about teaching people to turn the other cheek, but about teaching people how to confront the forces of violence and injustice in their lives and create a real, lasting peace. It is, as King put it, "the antidote to violence." Tiffany Childress, science teacher and civic engagement director at Chicago's North Lawndale College Preparatory High, saw right away how this curriculum could offer a new way to deal with conflict and violence in her school. With the support of school president John Horan, Childress facilitated a two-day workshop for the faculty as part of their professional development and organized a five-day training for a group of student leaders chosen by the teachers at the school. These were the first North Lawndale Peace Warriors, students who would lead their peers in creating a culture of peace in their school. The summer Peace Warrior training, which is now an annual event, includes a study of the principles and steps of Kingian Nonviolence, the history of the Civil Rights Movement, and role plays dealing with conflict. The initial trainings provided a common framework for students and staff to understand the conflicts in their school, a common vision to build toward, and a common language. It isn't only students who need to change. For youth to have hope in the future, the adults need to have faith in them. Schools, and society in general, often set low expectations of the youth, especially those coming from low-income neighborhoods. Many teachers don't believe that students can live differently. They think that having metal detectors and police officers in the hallways is normal and acceptable. Having higher expectations of the youth and believing in them is the first step in reversing the school-to-prison pipeline.
Rethinking Schools, Ltd. 1001 East Keefe Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Tel: 414-964-9646; Fax: 414-964-7220; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States