Nashville Residents Support Man Afraid to Walk Outside Alone in Childhood Neighborhood

Neighbors in Nashville responded to a Black man who said was after to walk around his childhood neighborhood. The man stated he was afraid he may not live to see another day if he walked by himself. This was around the time George Floyd was killed. In response, neighbors decided to walk with him.

Picture by Shawn Marqus Dromgoole

The Black man walked around his childhood neighborhood accompanied the residents. The Black man later said the community support made him feel heard and human.

The power of a neighborhood in standing up for the vulnerable. The White community helped the Black man feel safe, heard, and cared for.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

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Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow

During the quarantine, I set up a nonprofit that makes and sells homemade, pure vanilla extract that donates all of its profits to help hungry individuals throughout East TN by supporting Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. I want to help because I lived in an area that had many people who were battling hunger, and I saw the effects it had on them.

People across the region of East TN that are battling hunger might have a meal because of the support Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow has received.

I am a Freshman in High School and I received one of my largest surges of orders when I was just beginning to adjust to school in 2020 during my fourth day at school. I was stressing about getting all of the orders out, but my family and friends helped me get them out on time. I learned how supported I am and what great people are around me. I could not have made it through that period without their support.

Story shared by William Cabaniss, USA.

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Food Security, Feeding Body, and Soul

Soil Born farms is located within 55 acres of a community farm in Rancho Cordova, CA. Soil Born believes that all communities should have access to high-quality locally produced food. To facilitate this access, Born Soils trains people to grow their own food even within the city. In 2018, 1,795 adults attended classes in Born Soils. An important vision for Born Soil is to train young people on the value of nutrition and how to grow food in the city. They offer summer camp experiences for pre-K through high school. They offer scholarships for those that cannot afford them.

Image by National Civic League

In 2018, there were 59 beginning farmers trained; 1,795 adults attended gardening, cooking, and herbal care classes; 2,557 students engaged in school gardens at 10 campuses; 4,200 students enjoyed hands-on experiences at American River Ranch; 386,060 pounds of fruit donated to families in need, and 130,000 plants of 118 varieties were seeded in their greenhouse.
During the summer camps, the youth reconnected with themselves, the land, and the community.
Also, because of volunteers, there is less wastage of fruit since they collect these from farmers and donate them to local food banks and other emergency food resources.

Many people are interested in locally grown and healthy foods as evidenced by the people seeking information and training. Healthy foods can be grown in the city so long as people are trained on how to do it. Inequalities were reduced by donating fruits to those that could otherwise not afford them and by providing scholarships to students who were interested, but could not afford the summer camp experiences.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

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Liquor Store Turned into a Food Market

Young teenage entrepreneurs in the Austin neighborhood, Chicago, galvanized and turned a liquor store into a food market. With some help from their friends, these young entrepreneurs decided to convert their raw and powerful emotions into a social justice cause. They decided to create the Austin pop-up food market that would provide alternative healthy food options in a place that was otherwise a food desert. Their vision was actualized by the support of some professional athletes who provided the funding, and the By the Hand Club for Kids who brought in architects and branding experts for guidance.

Picture By the Hand Club for Kids

The outcomes included the availability of healthy foods within the Austin neighborhood, the transformation of a food desert into a healthy food zone, the restoration of a gutted building, and giving those in the community an opportunity to contribute, for example, the professional athletes.

Resources can be reusable, for example transforming a liquor store into a food market. The power and vision of the youth- the young entrepreneurs envisioned it and inspired/challenged the community to provide materials for actualizing it.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

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London Dad’s Counter Racist Acts with Love

A group of dads who belong to Dad Club London did a secret fundraiser to make Maurice Ellis and his family know they were welcomed into the community. This happened after Jeremy McCall, the head of the club, learned that Mr. Ellis, a newcomer in the community, had received racist acts. The group raised nearly $7,000 towards the tuition fee of Mr. Ellis wife-Carline-Leslie. Mr. McCall said it was the honor of the group to take the school’s stress off the shoulders of this couple.

Image by Megan Stacey/The London Free Press

The Black family felt welcomed and cared for in their new community. Also, the fundraiser took care of the tuition fee, hence taking off that stress.

The surprising kindness from the dads/community. The Ellis family was surprised when the dads visited and presented them with the $7,000 check.
There are enough love and care to counter hateful words and deeds.
Racial equity was increased by helping a member of a Black family complete school by providing the tuition fee.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

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Cooperation and Chocolate: The Story of One Colombian Community’s Quest for Peace

A community in Columbia builds a community-based economy in their quest for peace. After many years of war, a group disengages from the war, and decide to create a community of peace. The community promises to disengage completely from any aspects of the war, and in return, they asked to be left alone. It focuses on planting plants and selling its products. Interestingly, the community used a community-based economic model whereby each member took part in the planting, harvesting, selling, and budgeting for the funds from sales. In their quest for peace, the community created an egalitarian economic model.

Image by Yes! Magazine

The main outcomes were peace, prevention of life lost through war, and economic growth. The economic model was participatory in which the community was engaged in all the processes and the benefits. There were also unintended consequences such as the greening of the environment through the planting of more cocoa trees, and the learning of the skills of the economic project by new/younger members as they became engaged in the process.

It is possible the community learned the power of cooperation, as evidenced by the success of their cocoa business. it is possible there was a reduction in inequality due to using a community-based economic model as opposed to the capitalistic one. In this model, every member of the community is involved in the decision making. Also, the funds were used as the community saw fit, suggesting that the needs of all were considered. There is also the lesson of using the community resources-skills, expertise, and wisdom in problem-solving. Lastly, the project was inexpensive because the community was the key resource.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

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Nia Wa Ja Shu – Make the World New A Choral Cantata to Build Communities

In March 2020, days before the first lock-down in Germany, we had our final rehearsals for the world premiere of ‘Nia Wa Ja Shu – Make the World New’ together with more than 260 students and many teachers of a well-known liberal arts school in Germany (Camerloher Gymnasium Freising). The new dramatic choral work, composed by Peter Michael von der Nahmer (New York), has been inspired by ‚Fridays for Future‘-Movement and features ‚paper‘ as a former main carrier of information through the ages – starting from hand-writings to a disposable information carrier of today.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Germany, the world premiere with several performances with 750 visitors each had to be cancelled. Only one performance in front of a camera to record the video could take place. But, this situation has given rise to a project in which many young people have a voice for themselves and their future and the questions that come with it. The young musicians and singers felt understood. They are still able to convey their message over the internet and receive feedback from all over the world.

Even if COVID has forced us all to a different lifestyle and even if the focus of the news is limited to these topics, we should not forget that both art itself has and has always had a meaning, that it brings people together, that it can help to convey and address important issues and that there are still many things in this world that are important to think about.

Story shared by Peter Michael von der Nahmer, Germany.

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Enjoy Art and Nature – Creative Art Bicycle Tours

‘Umanand aufm Land’ (Rumble in the countryside) was the motto of several weekends around Bad Waldsee, a small town in Germany’s south-west. Public biking along a cultural trail has been accompanied by musicians, actors, acrobats, photographers and many more who showed their art along the way. More than 40 artists took part. A local cultural association as organizer, supported by the municipality, and funded by a state corona aid program offered an innovative way to experience creative art in nature.

Picture from dieBildschirmzeitung

The event caused an incredible enthusiasm for organized Creative Arts Bicycle Tours in the countryside with the participation of diverse artists. All kinds of groups enjoyed biking in nature combined with cultural events. The demand by the citizens has been overwhelming. Private sponsors offer their support and Creative Arts Bike Tours will be organized again next year. Local artists finally developed a platform for their work.

These events show that culture and art is an important part in our society. Art not only creates openness and generosity, but also community building in times of crises.

Story shared by Cornelia Gretz, Germany.

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University is community. Psychology for teaching: distance learning, interaction and reflexivity

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the impossibility of contact and face to face interaction has highlighted the importance of spaces for sharing and relationship in distance teaching offering a cross-section of emotions, questions and choices. Our contribution will present a distance learning course organized during the pandemic in the vein of community psychology. During the semester of teaching exclusively online made in the lockdown, we prepared an online course offering continuous monitoring and giving to the students an opportunity of active participation and scientific engagement. It involved 437 students of the degree course in Psychological Sciences and Techniques (teaching community psychology).

Picture retrieved from SHARE Libri

It was an opportunity of connectedness that scaffolded the isolated students. Exercises, video-web research and continuously interaction with the teacher maintain a shared connection. The use of photo, video and storytelling as didactic tools allowed an opportunity of reflectivity. In fact, the course has been a container of thoughts and emotions, an instrument of personal growth as well as cognitive. The attention to the active interaction of student lecturer, the creation of a strong teaching community and a methodology based on learning by doing, objectives of community psychology, have been experimented in distance teaching.

The experience of the course makes us aware that online support can enrich the learning path and shows us how its excellence develops only when the conditions of interaction and exchange between learners and teachers and students are central to the organization of objectives and educational paths. Online support has the potential to make it possible, or better to facilitate a teaching mode in which the student becomes a participant actor. The final book gave back the restitution of the whole experience.

Story shared by Caterina Arcidiacono, Italy.

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