Organizing With Peace Walks DC
The Peace Walks model was created in Oakland, CA, in the 1990’s to respond to police violence. Peace Walks go to the community, create healing space for trauma that has happened, create forgiveness for what has happened, meet the affected residents where they are with human needs and emotional support in the community. Peace Walks recognize that shooters are victims as well, affected by the same structural issues as the victims of the crime.
In 2018, DC created our own version of the program under the leadership of Reverend Delonte Gholston. and DC JWJ became one of the early groups to join the effort.
Peace Walks DC responds to traumas that happens in Black and Brown communities in the District of Columbia. The focus has been mostly in Wards 1, 4, 7 and 8 because that’s where shootings have been taking place. The communities we responded to for Peace Walks include Stoddard Terrace, Kenilworth Courts, Garfield Terrace, Columbia Heights Village, Melon Street Community, and Park Morton. These are public housing communities with potential displacement through redevelopment, located in food deserts and lack high quality education. Most of the public schools east of the river have been closed or defunded while MPD’s budget increases every year. All of the Peace Walks have been held in neighborhoods where there is high levels of community violence and youth lives are being lost. Peace Walks DC assists with providing access to mental health services, food, connecting to youth programs and other services like, mentoring programs, jobs, training and school alternatives.
Peace Walks DC is a Black- and Brown-led space that prioritizes Black and Brown community-building. DC JWJ is proud to be a partner in this effort.
Written by Sequnely Gray
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