2022 – Beginning the Year of Peace and Nonviolence in Our Communities

Image by Priscilla Du Preez

Our humanity and personhood are what inextricably link us together. Despite our visible racial, gender, or social differences, we share a common story — one of love and joy, but also one of pain and heartbreak from which we cannot escape. This is proving true this year as we see heightened destruction in the faces of families who suffer the senseless loss in our communities predicated upon senseless violence. The bloody streets, where death looms, contain our youngest and most beautiful students, our most loving family members, and our most remarkable generation yet who have left us prematurely before they ever realize their promise and purpose. We cannot take anymore. The most recent death of our youngest brother outside of his educational institution cuts to the core, deep enough for action. There is no peace in the city when pain exists in our communities — when pain exists in our neighborhoods. We must do something.  

Youth Enrichment Services is embarking on a yearlong mission to highlight the actions, activities, projects, and programs that contribute to the community. Repairing itself. Restoring itself. And rebuilding its inner value of kindness, caring, and love for thy neighbor. YES has identified partners who want to join this journey. Who believe resources and time away from their normal tasks are worth it when repurposing them for this worthy cause. 

 

So, I am calling on all of my friends, community leaders, organizations, institutions, clergy, families, and citizens of this great city to join me as we attempt to equip young people, through a series of intensive sessions regarding reclaiming their neighborhoods away from the stench of violence, to become ambassadors of peace who can connect with their neighbors, peers, and friends. We are seeking support, partners, and friends to join this cause. Do we have an answer? Does anyone have an answer? All we know is that the senseless death of our youth and families cannot become normal. It cannot become the rule, as opposed to the exception. 

 

As we go through this journey, a February kickoff event is being planned, where ideas and planned actions will be unveiled. If you care to join in the 2022 — Beginning the Year of Peace and Nonviolence in the Neighborhoods initiative, please contact me at dfjones@yespgh.org or YES’ Office Administrator, Olivia Kelley, at okelley@yespgh.org. I know that if we can believe it, we can achieve it, with your help and support.