On Friday, October 5th, two Neighbors in Action staff members, Anthony Collins and Rahson Johnson, led a workshop at the Columbia University Medical Center. This was to contribute to a week-long Gun Violence Awareness Week organized by the University, which included activities, panel discussions and guest speakers. The event attracted a diverse group of individuals ranging from faculty members and community organizers, to accomplished authors and elected officials.

During the hour-long presentation, Anthony and Rahson spoke about Neighbors in Action and how we promote safety and healing through organizing, helping and leading.  Additionally, they spoke on the various programming components of Neighbors in Action and how S.O.S. Brooklyn, Make It Happen, YO S.O.S., and S.O.S. CAN are structured and work together to address the issue of gun violence. From this discussion, they went on to present the Tree of Violence exercise where they guided the audience through a brainstorm exploring the examples of violence (trunk of tree), the consequences of violence (the branches), and the causes of violence (the roots of the tree).

The audience participation expanded the discussion, focusing on how gender inequality, structural racism, and systemic oppression all serve as root causes of violence. Each thought provoking question and comment led to more discussion and the evening turned out to be powerful for all in attendance.

If you are interested in bringing a workshop to your school or community group, complete a Workshop Request Form at http://crownheights.org/youthprograms/.