Archives For Seattle

Speech given by Alex, a 9th grade participant in Kids4Peace Seattle, at Inspiring Hope, The Kids4Peace Seattle Annual Benefit.

My name is Alex. I am a 9th grade Christian, and am in my 4th year at Kids4Peace.

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Alex and Monica during our Fall Retreat.

I joined Kids4Peace because I was going to a Christian private school in a primarily white neighborhood. I saw a lack of diversity in my life, but once I joined Kids4Peace I saw kids my age with different views and backgrounds together. Kids4Peace is important to me because I can see change happening, I can make change happen. Since I have joined Kids4Peace, I have taken detours from days at the mall to protest in the airport, taught world religion lessons to the kids at my sister’s middle school, pulled weeds in immigrant farmer’s fields, and met kids who live on the other side of the world.

Half of these things I did not even do within Kids4Peace programs, but I guarantee you I would not have done them if I was not in this program. This is why Kids4Peace is important: it not only has us create change in our Kids4Peace community, but it inspires us to go back into our own communities and create change every day.

Growing up I always had a specific idea of how I should act and how I should be because of the community I grew up in. In Kids4Peace I can share my values without fear of judgment, IN KIDS4PEACE MY VOICE IS HEARD.

Kids4Peace is a name that not everyone understands because here in Seattle we are not fighting a physical war, but that does not mean we do not have things to stand for. In Kids4Peace we strive for equity, we push for love, we struggle for the voices of everyone to be heard, we lobby for social justice, locally, nationally, and internationally.

We hope you have learned a thing or two about our organization this evening, and that you are inspired by our hope for peace and equity both in our community and across the world.

Alex

Speech given by Lia, a 10th grade participant in Kids4Peace Seattle, at Inspiring Hope, The Kids4Peace Seattle Annual Benefit.

Hi my name is Lia, I’m Jewish and in 10th grade. I’ve only been a part of K4P for one year, but it has already become such an important part of my life.

In K4P we are able to form bonds and make connections with people outside of our normal social circles. That can mean someone of a different faith or ethnicity in Seattle and in Jerusalem. I have met so many incredible people and heard so many eye-opening stories about their lives, goals and passion for change.

One story in particular that sticks out to me about meeting new people was last summer when I was in Washington D.C. at the Kids4Peace Global Institute. It opened my eyes to a different way of viewing race in the United States. After spending a week learning about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the implications of it, I was overwhelmed with the ideas of the hardships that my friends in Jerusalem live with everyday. Then, one day we had a fishbowl discussion which is where a group of people sitting in the center have a discussion and a group of people on the outside observe, just like a fishbowl. We were split up by country and we were asked questions such as “What do you love about your country?” “What do you fear about your country?” And “What do you wish people would know about your country?” Going into it, I was certain that the Palestinians and Israelis would have the most difficult examples to share for some of the questions. But when the American group began to discuss some of the questions, I had to switch my mindset back to the reality of everything that is wrong and the racism millions of Americans are affected by.

 

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Lia with her peers in Washington D.C.

 

Up until that point I had been somewhat aware of police brutality and discrimination, but I had never heard personal experiences. When we started discussing our fears I was deeply moved by the fact that one of our amazing leaders, who is black, opened up about her experience with police violence after losing a loved one in a confrontation with police. She talked about the fear she lives with everyday worrying about the safety of her family and friend’s, the way she feels when she sees a police officer, and other struggles of being a black person in America. Brianna told us how determined she was to dismantle prejudice and racism especially in our police forces. It was emotional, honest, and motivating at the same time.

It made me think differently about the safety of my friends who are people of color and how they must feel towards the police. When we returned to Seattle, I learned about initiative-940, De-escalate Washington. De-escalate Washington, is an initiative that would “require law enforcement to receive violence de-escalation, mental-health, and first-aid training, and provide first-aid; and change standards for use of deadly force, adding a “good faith” standard and independent investigation.” I was very inspired by what Brianna had said and it had made me so much more inclined and excited to want to get involved and work to make this a law. We were going to be working with people who are trying to achieve the same thing that Brianna is. I was able to canvas and gather signatures and educate others about the initiative. The whole time that I was doing it I kept telling myself, this is for Brianna and for everyone who has ever been affected by police shootings.

 

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Lia, with others in Seattle, canvassing for I-940.

 

Although I’m still too young to vote, I am trying my best to make any impact I can politically and socially in my community. Through Kids4Peace, I have been able to use my voice to spark the change the I want to see in my society. Similarly most of you might not be a participant in the program, but still want to help in any way that you can. You are all here tonight because you also care about Kids4Peace and you care about helping empower youth to be leaders for social change. Now is your chance to take action to help make that happen. By donating to Kids4Peace you would not only be helping to fund our amazing programs and camps but also helping give youth in our community who can’t afford to come to our camps the opportunity to join us and learn and make these very special connections. I hope you will support Kids4Peace, because all of your contributions matter. Thank you!

 

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Lia and Frieda during the Kids4Peace Fall Retreat.

 

Speech given by Frieda, a 10th grade participant in Kids4Peace Seattle, at Inspiring Hope, The Kids4Peace Seattle Annual Benefit.

Hello my name is Frieda, I am in 10th grade and have been a part of Kids4Peace for 5 years.

Kids4Peace is a huge part of my life. It has given me a supportive community and lifelong friends. These friends live all over the United States from Seattle to Boston to Florida to Houston. Some of my closest friends also live on the other side of the world in Jerusalem.

I keep in touch with my friends across the world. We Skype and have a group chat with almost 50 people. I Snapchat my friends for advice. Across a 10 hour time difference, I have deep philosophical conversations with them.

I love how Kids4Peace is a normal summer camp where we hang out together, have inside jokes, and grow up together, but Kids4Peace is also a community where we can do something meaningful in the world around us. For example, this past summer in Washington DC we lobbied for a bill on Capitol Hill.  This work makes me feel like I’m really making a significant impact on our global community.

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Frieda with friends on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

Though my friends and I lead very different lives, we are connected through our passion for making change in this challenging world. Like the students across the US protesting gun violence, we don’t have to wait to be adults to make change.

This past February, during Black History Month, my history teacher was leading a mandated unit on racism and how to recognize it.  As I was sitting in class, I could tell that the curriculum was lacking in many areas that we have discussed in Kids4Peace. Knowing that there were better ways to approach this topic, I took the time to discuss this with him. During our conversation, I was able to share some of the knowledge I have gained and help him understand how he could be more thoughtful when he approaches this subject in the future.

 

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Frieda, Martina, Alex, and Lia speaking about their experiences and work in Kids4Peace.

 

This evening you have heard stories about Kids4Peace in Seattle… Kids4Peace in France… and Kids4Peace in Jerusalem. K4P youth around the world are making change in our own communities.

Tonight my friends and I are excited to share with you a little bit of the work we are doing here in Seattle. This video will show you a small part of what we are doing every day to make a difference.

Speech given by Evan, a 9th grade participant in Kids4Peace Seattle, at Inspiring Hope, The Kids4Peace Seattle Annual Benefit.

My name is Evan, and I’m a 9th grader in the Kids4Peace program. I’ve been in Kids4Peace for 4 years now, and I’ve been exposed to many things I never would have experienced before.

I’ve only lived here in Seattle for 4 years, and Kids4Peace has made my move to Washington State easier. In the time I’ve been here Kids4Peace has changed the way I see the world, making it an organization like no other. But I didn’t always feel this way.

I first joined Kids4Peace in 2014 at the recommendation of my youth group leader, and at first I was hesitant. Kids4Peace seemed like a large commitment, and I had just moved here. I wasn’t sure I was up for the job.

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Looking back, I am so glad I decided to join. On the outside, Kids4Peace seems like a simple peace building organization, and though it does do that, it is so much more. When asked about my time in Kids4Peace, I always answer the same thing. Kids4Peace is a community, a family. The people here support each other, whether one of us is in need of help, or whether we are educating each other on the wonders of stroopwafels.

Kids4Peace has also guided me to things I never expected to be a part of, such as activism work, marches, workshops of all shapes and sizes, and summer programs that are not only enlightening, but extremely fun.

 

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Evan, Jordan, Jacob, and Risa attended a march in downtown Seattle — January 2017

 

I remember a while back we engaged in a poverty simulation, which opened my eyes. Many people feel bad for those who are less fortunate, but simply move on with their lives. They forget. Kids4Peace showed us more about people who live with this reality every day, the reality of not being able to support themselves or their families. The simulation helped us learn what this was like through unfair treatment, loss of belongings, and lack of basic rights. I left having met others who have experienced these things, knowing their stories and having a better understanding of their daily lives.

Kids4Peace has taught me about important values such as acceptance, and compromise, as well as showing me more about social division and conflict happening not just in our area, but around the world. Kids4Peace has changed my life.

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Speech given by Jacob, a 10th grade participant in Kids4Peace Seattle, at Inspiring Hope, The Kids4Peace Seattle Annual Benefit.

CLICK HERE to read the first part of this story, as told by Jacob’s friend Risa (another Kids4Peace Seattle youth participant).

Hello, my name is Jacob, and this will be my third summer with Kids4Peace. Risa and I represent just one part of a global interfaith organization. Kids4Peace is a group of interfaith youth with chapters in Jerusalem, France, and across the US. Here in Seattle, about 25 participants regularly attend monthly meetings. Kids4Peace also hosts camps during the summer. At all of these programs we learn about social issues, leadership skills, as well as the experiences of others through dialogue, thought-provoking activities and story sharing. We also host community workshops throughout the year, reaching hundreds of youth.

Like Risa said, we’ve known each other for a while: We work as assistant teachers at our synagogue together and ride the same bus to school. About three and a half years ago she told me that Kids4Peace was having an open house, and invited me to come.

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Jacob and other K4P youth planning their activism work around the I-940 De-Escalate Campaign.

I remember being very tentative. This was a new group that I barely knew anything about. But I was also a little curious so, I decided, why not? I’m a kid. I like peace, and it’ll only be a single meeting for a few hours. Three and half years later, Kids4Peace is an integral part of my life, and my identity.

Upon arriving to my first Kids4Peace meeting, I timidly slipped into the meeting room, feeling confused about how to act because everyone seemed busy chatting with each other and preparing snacks.

Risa was the only person I knew. Immediately though, someone strode right over and welcomed me, saying hi, and involving me in a conversation they were having about their week at school. I have never more quickly felt connected with a group of people. A little bit into the meeting, I remember dividing up into partners for a group activity. I was nervous I was going to be left alone without one, because no-one knew me, but to my relief, someone walked straight up to me and invited me to join them.

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It is the kindness that my kids4peace friends showed to me at my first meeting that we are trying to spread in our community. From standing outside MAPS, a local mosque, in support when their sign was smashed by a vandal, to having tough conversations about the experiences of immigrants, we support each other in understanding and solving issues that our community faces.

Our stories are just two of many, so with the same open arms that welcomed me to Kids4Peace, we would like to welcome all of you, and invite you into our Kids4Peace community.

During the event, when Risa and Jacob told their stories, they posed these questions to the audience:

We would like to ask all of you to take some time right now to reflect on some of your personal experiences. We are going to ask you to think about three things, and we would like you to take a second just to think about each thing in your mind.

We invite you to think about…

  • …a time when you were able to use knowledge you took from your community and applied it to something you felt passionate about.
  • …a time when you didn’t feel welcomed and accepted within your community
  • …a time when you were with people that encouraged and empowered you to be your best.

We invite you to reflect on these questions in the week to come, and don’t forget to check back for more stories next week!

Speech given by Risa, a 9th grade participant in Kids4Peace Seattle, at Inspiring Hope, The Kids4Peace Seattle Annual Benefit.

Kids4Peace is a youth group where we have the opportunity to learn about other perspectives and participate in interfaith programs. One of my favorite parts of Kids4Peace is how we are able to connect our learning to make a difference in the world around us.

Specifically, one rainy Seattle evening during our monthly meeting, we had the opportunity to cook and serve food at Tent City. For those of you that don’t know, Tent City is a community of homeless women and men who live together, sleeping in tents and joining together for meals. At first, I didn’t think of it as a big deal. I mean, we were just cooking food for people, right? When we arrived at Tent City with our huge trays of chili and cornbread, I realized how much of an influence we had on people’s lives.

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Kids4Peace youth after their time at Tent City in Seattle.

 

Earlier in the day, we had learned about how a small action can make a huge impact. We didn’t just set the food up for them and leave, we stayed and ate dinner and talked to many people we probably wouldn’t have talked to in any other situation. Lots of us realized we had the same likes and dislikes, and that we weren’t all that different after all. It was then I came to the understanding of how our cooking had not only affected their lives, but ours also.

I’ve been with Kids4Peace since sixth grade, and the relationships I’ve made with people and the experiences I have been a part of have all shaped my life today. During my time in Kids4Peace, I have been asked to think about and reflect on many things. Ever since I stepped into my first meeting, Kids4Peace is a place I’ve felt accepted and empowered to be my best. The friends I have made in Kids4Peace have stayed with me throughout middle school and now into high school.

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I’ve known my friend Jacob since we were kids, and we’ve gotten even closer as we grew up. Wanting to share my Kids4Peace experience with Jacob, I invited him to a Kids4Peace community day, where friends and family could come and check out our organization…

Check back on the blog next week to hear Jacob’s part of the story!

 

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Jacob and Risa speaking together at the 2018 Inspiring Hope event in Seattle.

 

By: Jordan Goldwarg, Kids4Peace Seattle Chapter Director

Remarks from Inspiring Hope, Our Kids4Peace Seattle Annual Benefit

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit our Kids4Peace chapter in Lyon, France, and while I was there, someone asked me what it is like to be living in the United States right now, a time of so much unrest and turbulence. I thought about it for a moment, and then I replied, “It’s an awful time to be living in the United States right now. And it is also an amazing time to be living in the United States right now.”

He looked at me a little bit puzzled, and I think this was understandable. I am sure that many of you in this room tonight can understand what I meant when I said that it is an awful time. Every day brings a fresh assault on the rights, equality, and dignity of just about anyone who is considered to be different or the other. And it’s important for me to acknowledge, as a cis white man, that I have only recently begun to understand the magnitude of the awfulness that so many black, brown, trans, Native, Latino, immigrant, and disabled people, not to mention all women, have been living with for so long.

The discrimination and attacks that people experience on a daily basis is nothing new, but it has become so much more visible over the last two years to those of us born with privilege. And this is actually why it is also an amazing time to be living in the United States right now. Every single day, we wake up, and we are presented with abundant opportunities to make a positive change in our communities and in the world. Let me give three quick examples.

Do you care about racism? If so, you can get involved with the No New Youth Jail campaign here in Seattle, helping to end the school-to-prison pipeline and the disproportionate incarceration of so many kids of colour.

Do you care about Islamophobia? If so, almost every week, there are mosques and other community groups hosting open houses and potluck meals to get to know each other.

Do you care about refugees? If so, you can help sponsor a family while also lobbying our elected officials to bring more refugees into the country. This is especially urgent, since I was shocked to learn last week that so far this year, a total of 11 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the US.

Of course, as has always been the case, if we want to make the world a better place, we should follow the lead of our youth. Who can ignore the power of Emma Gonzalez, Naomi Wadler, and so many other kids who have mobilized a movement that is creating change that adults have been incapable of achieving for a generation? Who would have thought that the state of Florida, under a Republican governor and a Republican legislature, would pass gun control laws?

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Naomi Wadler (left) and Emma Gonzalez (right) speaking at the March for Our Lives in Washington D.C. on March 24th.

And in Kids4Peace, we are so proud of our youth who are part of this growing wave of young activists, helping to shape society in more peaceful, compassionate, empathetic ways. You have already heard from a number of our kids, and I’m sure you’re as impressed by them as we are, but I want to highlight just three specific ways that our youth are making an impact.

First, last fall, our 10th graders, who had recently returned from our Global Institute leadership program in Washington, DC, decided to join the I-940 De-Escalate Washington campaign. If you’re unfamiliar with this campaign, it was an initiative to the state legislature to require police in our state to receive conflict de-escalation training while also making it easier to hold police accountable when there has been excessive use of force. This initiative was designed to help keep all of our communities safer, recognizing all the while that communities of colour are disproportionately affected by police
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I-940 Photo Grid

Our youth spent the fall collecting signatures for the initiative, while also helping to educate others through conversations and spreading the word through social media. Lia, one of our 10th graders who worked on the campaign, and who you will hear from later tonight, said, “As 10th graders, even though we still can’t even vote, we think it is very important for us to be aware of social justice and how police brutality and injustice in all forms is something that affects us. We in Kids4Peace feel compelled to fix things that are broken in our society.” And the work of our kids paid off: the state legislature passed I-940 during the closing days of its session last month, making it the law of the land.

My second example comes from our Jerusalem chapter. In the city of Jerusalem, despite the fact that about 1⁄3 of the population speaks Arabic as their first language, when films are shown in cinemas, they only contain Hebrew subtitles. Our high-school youth are working on a campaign with the municipality of Jerusalem and the cinemas to add Arabic subtitles to films. While this might seem like a small change, it would have a huge impact on creating more visibility for the Palestinian population, and more importantly, it would make cinemas a shared space, where Israelis and Palestinians can come together for common experiences, something that is incredibly rare in a very segregated city.

And while we love to see this kind of large-scale activism, we also value the changes that our kids make in their communities every day. At the risk of embarrassing Jacob, whom you heard from a few minutes ago, I want to say a word about his robotics team at Issaquah High. For over a year, the team had been experiencing rising tension between two groups that had different ideas about how the team should operate. Jacob, being the leader that he is, turned to skills honed in Kids4Peace to try to solve the problem. He offered to lead a dialogue session for nearly 30 team members with the goal of creating a community agreement that would help to establish norms for how team members interact with each other. The dialogue session was a success: Jacob created a safe environment in which everyone was able to express themselves and agree to a common set of values for the team, something that has really shifted the group dynamic this year. And in fact, the session was so successful that Jacob was asked to lead a similar session for other robotics teams in the region. Best of all, all of the kids in our core leadership program are trained to lead workshops like this.

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Jacob facilitating a conversation with a small group of students.

 

These three examples give you just a taste of the new emphasis in Kids4Peace on supporting our youth to take public action and stand up for the values they believe in. Kids4Peace has always been about engaging in dialogue with people who are different, and that is still a big part of what we do. But we are following the lead of our youth, who have been telling us that dialogue alone is not enough; it must also be paired with action.
And we are working to develop new ways to engage even more youth in our work. This year, thanks to a grant from the Seattle Foundation, we have launched a series of youth advocacy workshops, run in partnership with a broad range of other organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, and 21 Progress. The poem you just heard by Sumeya was written at our MLK Day workshop combating Islamophobia and Antisemitism. And the final workshop, with a focus on supporting and elevating immigrant and refugee voices, is just around the corner on May 6.

We have also launched our new congregational partnership program, in which a number of local congregations are using Kids4Peace curriculum in their religious schools and are coming together for shared experiences like visits to other houses of worship and potluck dinners.

Now, it’s not quite time to take out your wallets, but I do want to say just one quick word about money before I wrap up. We have set an ambitious goal tonight to raise $50,000. That is about a 40% increase from the $35,000 that we raised at this event last year. We have set this ambitious target because, by the end of this year, we want to be able to hire a community organizer who can help us include even more communities in our work, including those communities most impacted by current government policies. And thanks to some visionary leadership from four of our loyal supporters, we have already raised $15,000 toward our goal tonight. This group really wants to see us get to $50,000, and I know that if we come together as a community, we can help each other out to get this done.

If we’re successful, it will allow us to strengthen our new initiatives, reach more communities, and ensure that even more youth can exercise the leadership skills that are innately within them. Of course, we can’t do any of this without the support of our community, which is at the heart of everything we do in Kids4Peace

To conclude, I want to ask all of you a question. Like almost all of our youth, I have become absolutely obsessed with the musical, Hamilton, over the past couple of years. One of my favourite moments in the show comes when Alexander Hamilton, after spending months as George Washington’s secretary, is finally given command of troops in the Revolutionary War. Maybe one reason this play has resonated with so many people is that, like our present moment, the Revolutionary period was both an awful time and an amazing time to be living here. The ravages of war were perhaps made just a little easier to bear by the hope and the possibility that came from creating something completely new, as imperfect as that new creation ended up being.

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When Washington gives Hamilton his command, he reminds him of the power and the responsibility of the position by saying, “History has its eyes on you.” That line always sticks with me: “History has its eyes on you.” And it sticks with me because in our present moment, when we can push back against the awfulness by seizing the amazing opportunities we have been given, I know that history has its eyes on us. And the question that our youth are asking themselves and the question they are asking you is, “What are we going to do with this moment we’ve been given?” I think we should start by following the lead of our youth.

by Sara McArdle, Kids4Peace Seattle Chapter Board Chair

On Friday, January 26, I had the pleasure of hosting my second-ever “Dialogue Dinner” in support of Kids4Peace Seattle. As a board member, one of the things that we’re invited to do (and I happily oblige!) is host an intimate fund- and/or awareness-raising event for our communities once every couple of years.

This time, eight of us gathered around two big tables in the community room at my complex in North Seattle and shared a deep, meaningful discussion about the issues that are most important to each of us. The group consisted of Muslim, Jewish, Christian and non-religious friends of mine who care deeply about the future of our nation and our youth. Most of my guests did not know each other before getting together that night.

As a special treat, I ordered a cornucopia of delights from Gorgeous George’s Mediterranean Kitchen, owned and operated by Kids4Peace friends and Jerusalem natives, George Rashed and Rula Saleh. We feasted on mouth-watering tabouli, falafal, salad, pita, hummus, babaghanouje, dolmas, makdous, grilled vegetables, salmon and chicken.

We spent the first half an hour mingling and getting to know each other a bit. Then, we sat down to eat and pondered some big questions. We gave each person around the table the space and close attention to articulate what was on their hearts and minds, without interruption.

The gist of the questions I posed to the group were: 1) With all that’s currently going on in our country and the world, how do you choose which of the numerous, deserving causes/events/activities to give your time, energy and attention to? 2) What kinds of things do you do to take good care of yourself and make sure you’re saying “no” to the things that are lower priority for you? and 3) How do you handle conversations with loved ones who see issues differently than you do? (Or, do you even get into it?) The conversation was rich and varied, and I left with some new ideas and inspiration.

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Guests enjoying delicious food and rich conversation.

 

After we talked for about an hour and a half, I shared how these concepts relate to the work of Kids4Peace; in our community, we get together and regularly ask big questions about what we want to do to make a difference in our communities, how we can support each other and how we can care for ourselves in the process. Then, we take action.

So, I took action by inviting this little community of mine to give to Kids4Peace Seattle so that we can make a real difference in the issues that so many of my community care deeply about, like youth, equity and anti-oppression, nonviolence, living in greater harmony with each other and our planet, etc.

In addition to their financial generosity, I was delighted to see some of my guests exchanging contact information and brainstorming how they might collaborate together in the future on their overlapping projects and visions. These kinds of exchanges are exactly why dialogue dinners can be so powerful!

One meaningful piece of feedback I received was, “I am so nourished by the care and thought you put into whom to invite, what to eat and what questions to ask. I loved meeting such a mix of people, and really liked getting to respond to those questions.”

I highly recommend hosting a dialogue dinner for any cause you care about! (No need to ask for money, either, if that’s not a fit for you.) In a society that’s constantly busy, on the go and multi-tasking, it feels like a real treat to sit across the table from one another and be heard for what moves us deeply, as individuals.

 

On January 14th, 80 youth from the greater Seattle area gathered for a workshop called “Make Your Voice Heard”.  It was the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, drawing inspiration from King to empower youth to speak up about issues they care about.

The first part of the event was an opportunity for participants to hear from three different speakers. Max Patashnik who is the Government Affairs and Community Relations Senior Manager at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle did a presentation on Judaism and Antisemitism. Jasmin Samy is the Civil Rights Director at CAIR-Washington State and she did a presentation on Islam and Islamophobia. Finally, Essam Muhammad who is a local Spoken Word Artist and Poet, and is active in the South Seattle community, performed a spoken word piece for all in attendance. This was a way to get the participants thinking about issues in the world and lead them into their breakout session. As participant Maryam said, “We may not realize it but discrimination and hate happens all around us”.

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In the second part of the workshop, youth had the opportunity to participate in one of four breakout sessions. The sessions were News Media, Talking About Issues You Care About, Film, and Spoken Word. Each session gave the youth a different perspective on voicing their opinions and speaking up for what they believe in. The tools that they were given could help them speak up against Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and any other issues they care about.

We heard from two participants of the Spoken Word breakout session, and they were certainly inspired. “Poetry is a way to express yourself, and it seems like something I can do after school” said Maeve. Elizabeth said “I liked the free writing, and I want to tell my friends about this”.

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Throughout the event, participants met back at their table groups to discuss what they were finding. They talked about what this experience meant to them, Nathan said “Through the learning, I feel empowered”. To him, this event was not only about speaking up, it was about learning about other people’s view of the world. Habiba said “We should all use our voice because it is a privilege, we should use it before it’s taken away. We need to use it for ourselves, and those who don’t have a voice”. Going along with speaking up for others, Mariam said “In the world we tend to only stand up for ourselves and our friends, but we should stand up for everyone”.

To finish off the workshop, we had participants further their call to action by writing down what they want to use their voice for. It was a way to remind participants that this workshop gave them tools, but they are the real voice of change in their communities.

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Click here to find lots more photos from our event in our Facebook Album!

Written by: Viktorina, Kids4Peace Seattle Communications Intern

by Jordan Goldwarg, Kids4Peace Director of Chapter Development

On Saturday, October 28, a group of friends gathered in a home in Seattle for dinner. They came together for a facilitated discussion about this question: What is one thing that is frustrating you right now about our city/country/world? What in your personal experience makes you care about this thing? How are you acting on those frustrations (if at all)?

The hosts of the dinner, Emily Patton and Matt Oppenheimer, are longtime supporters of Kids4Peace. They value the work that Kids4Peace does to build a community of interfaith youth peace leaders, but they were also looking for the opportunity to have their friends experience the magic of Kids4Peace. This led them to invite people to dinner to see for themselves the power of the honest dialogue that Kids4Peace helps facilitate.

After an hour of conversation about the night’s question, the evening culminated with the creation of Team Oppily (a combination of “Oppenheimer” and Emily”), a Kids4Peace giving circle. A giving circle is a group of friends who come together to support a cause in a variety of ways. Financial support can be an important aspect of a giving circle, but Team Oppily will also be giving to Kids4Peace through things such as providing snacks for youth meetings, mentoring youth through sharing their experiences during K4P meetings, and helping to set up for larger K4P events.

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The first gathering of Team Oppily!

 

Team Oppily is also pooling financial resources to provide a matching challenge for Kids4Peace’s year-end fundraising efforts in Seattle. They will match up to $1500 in year-end gifts, essentially allowing people to double the power of their contributions.

“All of us have experienced frustrating things in our lives,” said Emily. “While some people may resort to hopelessness, I am continually inspired by the youth and adults involved in Kids4Peace. I talk about the program all the time, so I wanted to find a way to have my closest circle of people reach a more comprehensive understanding of Kids4Peace, too. It was a really meaningful evening and I’m so grateful for our friends who were able to attend the dinner and commit to giving of their time and resources.”

We thank Emily, Matt, and all of Team Oppily for their commitment to building peace in our communities! If you are interested in starting a Kids4Peace giving circle, please contact Jordan Goldwarg, Director of Chapter Development, at jordan@k4p.org.