By Dylan Deprey
The lavender and vanilla scents drifting down the lower hallway of the Carmen School of Science & Technology’s Northwest campus lead to a brightly colored classroom. There was an instant calming effect as light jazz set the ambiance for five students working on homework.
Ms. Jendora Kelley, Carmen’s Community Culture Leader, was giving one of her 400 “children” an opportunity to design a poster for the upcoming Community Awareness Summit and Peace Walk.
Her classroom is a haven for students, and from color therapy to meditation, she aims at preparing students by reflecting on themselves and their community to prepare them for the future.
“Students’ habits and routines right now are contributing to how they will live as an adult, and I relate these situations to real life,” Kelley said.
In honor of youth violence prevention month, Kelley aims to prepare students, families and the community with information resources and workshops during the Carmen High School Community Awareness Summit on Thursday, April 20.
“In order to take care of the community we need to take care of ourselves,” Kelley said. “You have to be aware of self before you can be aware of anything else because so many of us have the courage to face the world but not enough to face the mirror.”
Planned Parenthood, Sojourner Family Peace Center and 3065 are just a few of the resource booths available. Star D. Burks, Milwaukee Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee’s project manager, and MVP Speaks, poet, will also be guest speakers at the Summit.
“These are people, not just part of organizations, but who live mindful lifestyles intentionally every day and it is very important for kids to see this mindful lifestyle in action,” Kelley said. “It’s one thing to receive info on how to do something, it’s another thing when you have a person right next to you that’s actually doing it.”
The following day there will also be the No Violence, Know Peace Walk, which is a collaboration with Community Huddle, a local civic and social organization that promotes peace, education, and civic engagement.
Min. Byron Marshall Jr., Community Huddle founder, said the peace walk was a response to the 141 violent homicides in 2016, and the 25 that have occurred since the new year.
“There are three aldermanic districts in Police District 4, and nearly one half of the 25 deaths occurred there,” Marshall Jr. said. “It only made sense to hold the launch at Carmen because it sits right behind it.”
Marshall Jr. said he reached out to Carmen not-knowing about the Community Awareness Summit, but it was great coincidence for collaboration.
Kelley said the Peace Walk was an opportunity to show students, families and the community how unity lays in numbers, and how working together for the same thing at the same time can lead to more positive outcomes
“Our children have been programmed to the dedication of trees and R.I.P shirts at candle light vigils,” Kelley said. “Let’s stand for peace in a proactive state instead of just dealing with the trauma.”
Carmen School of Science & Technology will host the Community Awareness Summit on Wednesday, April 19, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30pm. The following day, Thursday, April 20, 4:00pm, students, families, and community are asked to join in the No Violence, Know Peace Walk in collaboration with Community Huddle.