Peace education transforms conflict and violence in Louisville

A network of young people and adults is transforming conflict and violence in our city. Peace Ed and our partners create islands of safety and respect where young people resolve their conflicts non-violently. Our network of trained adults in 88 schools and 67 community sites work on the streets and in the classroom, teaching preschoolers young adults who are victims of violence to make peace their first choice.

Taja’s story illustrates the power of these islands of safety and respect. In primary school, Taja fought every day because she lived in a family of fighters. In his neighborhood, if you didn’t fight, you didn’t survive.

At twelve, Taja worked her way into a teen leadership group at her community center. Our trainer, Ms. Janene, started teaching Taja that she could stop fighting – and still get what she needed.

This veteran began to mediate in the stairwells and hallways of her college, convincing her director in Meyzeek that mediation was exactly what they needed.

At 17, Taja helped train other neighborhood youth mediators and graduated from Iroquois High School with a 4.0 GPA. Later, she attended Northern Kentucky University.

When she was 25, bystander Taja was stabbed 15 times. Before Peace Ed, Taja could have easily escalated this attack, gotten killed, or exacted revenge. Instead, she chose another path.

Taja is alive today and thriving because Peace Ed and our partners have helped her become a positive force for change. She chooses daily to listen and solve problems with her children and her husband, her clients and her colleagues. Today, her daughter is a teen leader with Peace Ed.

The support we receive through Give For Good Louisville helps give these young people skills, safety, support and more than a fighting chance.

Eileen Blanton is the executive director of Peace Education. For more information, visit peaceeducationprogram.org.

About Michael C. Lovelace

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