AFSC Ends Ferguson Violence Begins with Peace Education / Public Information Service

ST. LOUIS – Many Missourians fear that more violence is inevitable, whether or not Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson is charged with the shooting death of Michael Brown. That’s why one group says giving today’s teens conflict resolution skills is the key to a calmer, more just society in the future.

Too often, said Joshua Saleem, who heads the peace education program for the American Friends Service Committee in St. Louis, young people do not have a voice when it comes to big issues such as income inequalities and racial disparities.

“They have the energy, they have the ideas; they think outside the box in a lot of ways when it comes to these issues,” he said. “So it’s essential that we have their voice at the table. “

Saleem said that following the violence that erupted in Ferguson following the August 9 shooting death of an unarmed black teenager Brown, many children in the program just needed a chance to be heard.

“Many of them expressed the feeling that depending on who they were, the color of their skin, the way they dressed, they were seen as suspects, they were seen as dangerous people.” , did he declare. “So a lot of them expressed that frustration and just a desire to be seen as human beings.”

The Peace Education program has both school and community outreach in the St. Louis area, with an emphasis on conflict resolution, civic engagement and organizational skills. A grand jury ruling on Wilson is expected overnight. Prior to this decision, Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson and deployed National Guard troops to the city.

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