Recap from the Community Power Against Violence Campaign Launch
Community Power Against Violence (CPAV), a diverse group of youth and adult community leaders, hosted a campaign launch event at the Urban Research and Outreach Center (UROC) on December 21st. Their message, Peace 24/7: It Begins with You, drew community members curious about "the buzz" as well as stakeholders from the Department of Health and Minneapolis Public Schools. For youth and adult CPAV leaders, the event was not only a proud public unveiling of their work over the last 8 months, but was also a celebration of the Minneapolis Foundation funding they received to continue their peace-building community work.
During the two-hour event featuring African and Native American drum music as well as home-cooked food, Commissioner of Health, Gretchen Musicant and Beki Saito, founder of CPAV, highlighted the origin of CPAV as a multicultural community campaign to "unlearn the culture of violence," part of the City of Minneapolis' comprehensive Blueprint for Action to end youth violence. Youth and adult CPAV members then shared their cultural perspectives on violence, representing their unique experiences as Native Americans, African Americans, Somalis, and Hmong. With this rich context, the group explained their media strategies, played the public service announcements they'd created, distributed "Peace 24/7: It Begins with You" wristbands, pins, and peace pledges, and highlighted future strategies to mobilize other community members to take a stand against violence.
The event marked the culmination of an eight-month process. The group of 35 youth and adults met weekly, focusing initially on team-building, finding their message and voice in the community, and defining what violence is in their lives. From this foundation, the media and mobilization strategies took shape. The group's work continues in 2010 meeting with community organizers and starting conversations about peace in schools, places of worship, community centers and street corners. Subsequent training of trainers will expand the mobilization effort and draw attention to summer 2010 media events such as block parties featuring PSA and community interview video footage.
Visit their website at peace247.org to see the CPAV logo and event photos.