Network for Peace
Network for Peace

Network for Peace through Dialogue

2010 Network for Peace Youth Dialogue Conference

Workshop Reports

Conference Literature


Human Rights Activist Project, Global Kids

"Moving Beyond Profiling: Youth Using Dialogue to Address Police Misconduct"

Over the course of the past school year, students in the HSGC Human Rights Activist Project have focused on raising awareness about the prevalence and impact of NYPD's stop and frisk policy which unfairly targets minority youth. They have also looked towards finding solutions for police misconduct, including reforming the Civilian Complaint Review Board. This workshop will examine the strategies that youth can use to achieve more effective campaigns to address human rights violations in their communities.

Report

PM Session

Two young people from a Global Kids project in Brooklyn facilitated this session about their work around police profiling. Their introductory ice breaker was a name game in which each person gave their name and an adjective describing them using the first letter of their name, for example Active Alice. This was followed by Human Bingo, in which participants had to find a person in the group who knew the answer to a question on a bingo card.

This was followed by an Agree/Disagree activity in which participants went to a side of the room depending on whether they agreed with a series of statements. They were then asked to explain their decision. A lively debate developed around the statement: Bringing petitions to your police precinct is an effective way to get the government to change. A young woman who lived in Greenwich Village believed such a petition would help. Two young women from Harlem insisted that petitions in their neighborhoods to stop excessive stop-and-frisk detentions were ignored.

The young people then showed a film about their work to discuss stop-and-frisk policies with people in their neighborhoods and answered questions about their work.


Effective Alternative in Reconciliation Services (EARS)

"EARS Listens!: How Young People Can Understand, and Be Understood"

Over the course of the past school year, students in the HSGC Human Rights Activist Project have focused on raising awareness about the prevalence and impact of NYPD's stop and frisk policy which unfairly targets minority youth. They have also looked towards finding solutions for police misconduct, including reforming the Civilian Complaint Review Board. This workshop will examine the strategies that youth can use to achieve more effective campaigns to address human rights violations in their communities.

Report

EARS believes in the importance of involving young people in working to solve the problems that face their communities. Some difficult issues we deal with regularly are domestic violence, gang violence, and bullying. Our workshop, led by teens trained at EARS, will focus on what we do to engage young people in dialogue. We will involve participants interactively with games and activities that encourage more meaningful communication. We will focus on several important skills, including how to listen effectively, how to communicate our own feelings, and how to deal sensitively with difficult topics.


The Osborne Association's Youth Advisory Board

"Achieving the Promise: Children of Incarcerated Parents"

The Osborne Association's Youth Advisory Board works to raise awareness about how children and young people are affected when their parents are incarcerated. This workshop will use activities and discussions to examine perceptions of incarceration and the prevalence of incarceration in our communities. It will also examine how parental incarceration impacts youth, and what young people can do to support those with parents in the prison system. Participants in the workshop will have the opportunity to hear from members of the Youth Advisory Board about their experiences, and learn about what they can do to help break the cycle of incarceration.

Report

This session was facilitated by a panel of adolescents from the Osborne Association with the support of Ebony Knowlin, the Youth Board Coordinator. It opened with an Agree/Disagree Icebreaker in which participants chose a different side of the room depending on whether they agreed or disagreed with a number of statements. Then people were asked to say why they chose their spot. A sample statement: People who have committed crimes do not deserve to be parents.

This was followed by an activity called "Surprising Statistics." Working in small groups, session participants filled in the blanks on list giving statistics about incarceration in the United States. They were provided with a second list with possible choices for the blanks.

A sample sentence: "More than _____ in every 100 adults in America is in jail or prison. Choices included the numbers one and 43." The groups discussed their choices and their reasons for making the choices. The correct answer was one. The number 43 belonged in the sentence "National studies reveal that one in 43 American children had an incarcerated parent in a state or federal prison."

Next members of the panel told their stories about how the group at Osborne had made a difference in their lives. There they were offered the support of other adolescents and an atmosphere of hope and possibility for their future. Both the love of the young people for their incarcerated parents and the prejudices they experienced in the world around them were heartbreakingly apparent in what they had to say.

Finally, the panel offered a Bill of Rights for the children of incarcerated parents.

  • I have the right to be kept safe and informed at the time of my parent's arrest.
  • I have the right to be heard when decisions are made about me.
  • I have the right to be considered when decisions are made about my parent.
  • I have the right to be well cared for in my parent's absence.
  • I have the right to speak with, see and touch my parent.
  • I have the right to support as I struggle with my parent's incarceration.
  • I have the right not to be judged, blamed or labeled because of my parent's incarceration.
  • I have the right to a lifelong relationship with my parent

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Mott Hall High School

"Diversity in the School"

The peer mentors in Mott Hall's College for Every Student program work to promote respect for cultural diversity in their school. This workshop will focus on the strategies youth can use to address conflict between students from different ethnic and cultural groups. Through activities and discussions, participants will examine how they can build understanding in their schools, including how they can break down stereotypes, address racist language and jokes, and confront prejudice and discrimination.

Report

Two young women students from Mott Hall High School led the workshop. They were accompanied by their adult Facilitator. For some time now the school has been concerned and acting to build multicultural respect and to help break down stereotypes due to race and color. The students mentioned that they were inspired and grateful for the workshop presented to them by the Network for Peace facilitators and had used some of the activities to prepare the workshop for this conferenece.

The facilitators introduced some introductory activities. One included trying to get a selected person to laugh at them and one was to say was quality they had that matched the first letter other name. The group included youth and adults and the sharing seemed open as people shared on experience from their own lives.

The facilitator had carefully suggested some ways that showed reposes for one another and asked the group to respond to what they had on the charts. It included such things as: Pay attention, acknowledge others, give constructive criticism, respect others space etc.

On discussion was how the participants had learned to respect the difference in others. One was adopted by a family of a different race and shared how difficult it was at times to understand but how enriching it was to gain new insights along the way. …both for the herself as a youth and for her adopted parents.

Finally, the panel offered a Bill of Rights for the children of incarcerated parents.

At the end of the workshop the youth exchanged e-mails and said they would stay in contact with one another.

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Advocates for College Education (ACE)

"College Access and Leadership"

EARS believes in the importance of involving young people in working to solve the problems that face their communities. Some difficult issues we deal with regularly are domestic violence, gang violence, and bullying. Our workshop, led by teens trained at EARS, will focus on what we do to engage young people in dialogue. We will involve participants interactively with games and activities that encourage more meaningful communication. We will focus on several important skills, including how to listen effectively, how to communicate our own feelings, and how to deal sensitively with difficult topics.

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Network for Peace through Dialogue Leadership Institute

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Network for Peace through Dialogue

"Talking with Teens: Dialogue in Youth Programs"

Given that so many people who coordinate youth programs will be at the same place at the same time, we're offering a special interactive workshop for youth coordinators to share experiences and best practices. The workshop will be an opportunity to consider challenges specific to your work with others who are in similar situations. We will define the topics we address together using a dialogic approach. Participants may choose to take up issues from their work (through large and small group dialogue), or take the time to explore the practice of dialogue itself (e.g., generating powerful openings, an overview of dialogue methods, distinguishing mediation and dialogue).

Report

This session was designed to be for those who work with youth and want to consider how to used dialogue in the work.

Laurence Berg, Board member of Network for Peace through Dialogue facilitated the workshop. Initially he asked the 10 people who gathered for this afternoon session what their concerns were in working with youth. The following ideas emerged:

  • How do I gain credibility / legitimation?
  • How do I sustain engagement?
  • How do I reach the right audience and not preach to the choir?

The people gathered represented a variety of groups with different purposes. One group was connected with the Community Concerns of the NYPD.

Advice to them included:

  • Go where the kids are-parks, malls
  • Include the youth in planning; make them a stakeholder
  • Know youth language
  • Listen to the young people; don't jump to conclusions.
  • Seek opportunities to make connections.
  • Make it about them - focus on the person before the issue.

Another group has a mission of warning high schoolers about the downsides of military recruitment. These young women belong to the group for only 2 years. Year 1 as a worker and year 2 as a trainer. They go to schools and youth groups with presentations as strong but not as well funded as the recruiters. One of their problems is that some of the students don't want to listen to them.

In the dialogue several points became apparent:

  • Be honest and personal about your reasons for bringing this issue to them.
  • Listened to the students' concerns first, focus on the person before the issue. Some of the students may be from military families and deep down they want to follow that path. Or they might believe that it is their obligation to fight to sustain the freedoms that their country preserves. That is a belief for them and beliefs can't be changed. That is ok.
  • Watch out for trigger words like "military recruitment" and words that have value judgments attached. Often these words set a whole series of thoughts and feelings in motion. Then the audience can't hear another word.

The group left with some new thoughts, with shared concerns, and with a couple of strategies that will make their work more effective.

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Network for Peace through Dialogue | 2

"Deepening Dialogue: Ways to Address Difficult Subjects in Your Community"

Dialogue enables people to address difficult issues in a safe space. This workshop will focus on strategies you can use to create dialogue in your communities in an organized and facilitated manner. Participants will be involved in activities that introduce different ways you can talk about issues such as sexuality, violence, and safety.

Report

Participating in this workshop was a different experience compared to any other workshop I've ever facilitated. The students were like no other group I have come across in the two years that I have been with the programs of which I am associated.. This elicited participation from all that was very knowledgeable, responsive, dedicated and ambitious. The fishbowl activity was probably the highlight of my day with the students because I realized how little I expected them to know. However, they managed to prove me wrong and I realized that I could learn so much from them. They were mature and articulate when it came to expressing their views on sexuality, race, violence and issues within their community. I've become so used to walking into a workshop and showing students that they can become more than what they already are. However, I walked away from this experience wiser and open-minded. "


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