See the Advocacy page for more
From its beginning in 1970, IPJ’s advocacy priorities focused on alternatives to war and violence and on racial and economic justice. With the development of the Families Against Violence Advocacy Network (FAVAN), IPJ’s advocacy priorities expanded to include gun violence, violence in the media, violence in schools, domestic violence, and hate violence. See “Five Steps to Break the Cycle of Violence” for specific suggestions. Since September 11, 2001, IPJ’s advocacy efforts have focused extensively on alternatives to war and violence in the face of terrorism, as well as on specific legislative actions to counteract the cutting of social programs to pay for US military expansion. How to respond concretely to Dr. King’s “giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism” was the advocacy focus of IPJ’s “Circles of Peace, Circles of Justice Newsletter in 2003-2004.
Educating for Peace and Justice
Since 1972, IPJ has been developing curricula and doing teacher in-service programs on peace and justice issues for public and parochial schools and religious education programs, K-12. The EDUCATING FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE teachers manuals for K-12 carried the IPJ message to teachers and students through eight editions over 30 years. Since 1996, much of IPJ’s curricula development, student presentations, and teacher workshops have focused on the Kids, Classroom/School, Youth and Campus Pledge of Nonviolence, including Alternatives to Violence Kits for Public Schools, K-5, Christian Education and Schools, K-8, and Christian High Schools and Youth Groups.
Numerically we estimate that more than -
Faith Communities & Peacemaking
Since 1975, we have led workshops, conducted retreats, and written extensively for Christian churches, Jewish congregations, Catholic religious communities, and individuals of faith on how to integrate peace, justice and environmental concerns into our faith journeys. Among the books are A CALL TO PEACE.
Numerically we estimate that more than –
· Sixteen national Christian denominations in the US and Canada have used IPJ resources and PPJN leaders in their family life, religious education, multicultural, women’s, peacemaking, racial and economic justice, and youth programming, touching millions of others.
Families Against Violence (FAVAN)
In 1996, the Institute for Peace and Justice’s Parenting for Peace and Justice Network (PPJN) convened a gathering of US and Canadian leaders to explore how to respond to the escalating violence in families, communities, and our world. From this gathering emerged the Families Against Violence Advocacy Network (FAVAN) and the Pledge of Nonviolence as the primary tool for educating and organizing families and communities to challenge violence at all levels and to live more nonviolently. FAVAN is a loose network of organizations, families and individuals committed to violence prevention and the promotion of alternatives to violence in our families, schools, faith communities, youth groups, colleges, workplaces and prisons.
“Francis the Clown” Programs
As “Francis the Clown,” Jim McGinnis does presentations on the Pledge of Nonviolence in public and parochial elementary schools and religious education programs. In the spring of 2003, he did 24 school assemblies in St. Louis, Kansas City and Detroit, offering students and faculty creative ways of promoting peace in the midst of war, including the Pledge of Nonviolence and donations to “All Our Children,” a new ecumenical initiative to provide medicines for Iraqi children. For high school, college, and young adult audiences, he does a one-hour Dramatization of the Life of Francis of Assisi as a way of teaching nonviolence, solidarity with the poor, care for the earth, and simplicity of life.
Grandparents Acting for Peace
In 2003, under the leadership of Louise Bates Evans of the IPJ Program Committee, we began brainstorming how we might use the experience we gained through the Parenting for Peace and Justice Program to involve grandparents more fully into promoting peace, justice, and care for the earth. A “Grandparent’s Packet” is being developed to include several books to read to grandchildren, especially around the components of the Pledge of Nonviolence, and suggestions on story-telling and relating to nature. Discussions have begun with the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence to have Jim McGinnis write a book for grandparents, parents, and daycare providers on how to incorporate Gandhi’s principles into working with children.
Homeless Shelter Program
Since 1994, IPJ has been providing workshops on non-violent parenting skills in several St. Louis homeless shelters. We have also collaborated with SALAMU, an African dance and drum ensemble, to introduce these families to African dancing, drumming and storytelling, as well as the connection of traditional African values to the problems of everyday life. We are also introducing the Circles of Hope, Circles of Peace program to homeless shelters, helping their families deal with issues of poverty and violence. Funding for continuing these activities, however, remains a serious issue.
Parenting for Peace and Justice (PPJN)
See the PPJN web pages for more info
See also Resources for Families
In 1981, IPJ created the Parenting for Peace and Justice Network (PPJN) as an interfaith, interracial, transnational association of families of all descriptions who seek "Shalom" - well-being, wholeness, peace, justice - in our own living situations and in the broader community. We recognize that the well-being of our families is tied to the well-being of our global family and the earth itself. Over the years, PPJN organized local chapters and nurtured local coordinators throughout the US and Canada and in over 20 other countries; promoted family support groups, workshops, and family programs in faith communities and neighborhoods; encouraged family advocacy on a wide range of peace, justice, and environmental issues; and created resources for families and family leaders on these issues.
We recently completed a 3-year program in the St. Louis Public Schools through the Safe Schools, Healthy Students Initiative. Our work expanded to 40 schools, and to kindergarten and early primary teachers. There has been a great deal of excitement generated as we work with the children on specific ways to "use your brain" to become better peacemakers. The Pre-School Peace Tote Bag, our exciting new resource for early childhood teachers and parents, is now available.
Racial Justice Program
From its beginning in 1970, IPJ has made racial (and economic) justice and diversity a priority concern that has been progressively realized in the content of IPJ publications and workshops, in the make-up of IPJ staff, Board, committees, and consultants; in locations of our offices and programs; and in the groups with whom we collaborate and on whose Boards we serve. Currently, the work of the Racial Justice Program has centered around four areas:
“Solving Our Situations” (SOS) and Mentor Programs
In collaboration with the St. Louis Public Schools, the Center for Women in Transition, and the Marianist Community, and with the assistance of ex-offender “SOS” trainers, Gary Ingram, Joe Jackson, Tanya Rogers, Robin Penny, Olivetta Sumpter, and Vernon Henderson, the “SOS” problem-solving process continues to be part of the curriculum at St. Mary’s and Vianney High Schools, for women ex-offenders and their teenage children. Vernon Henderson also brought the essence of SOS to middle school youth. In collaboration with Project Re-Connect, ARCHS, and Project COPE, IPJ and our ex-offender facilitators developed mentor training programs for men and conducted group mentoring sessions.
Teens Acting for Peace (TAP)
This unique youth violence prevention training program continues to provide leadership opportunities for youth across the US. In southeast Pennsylvania, youth working with the United Church of Christ conducted “peace camps” during the year as well as the summer. High school youth in Cincinnati were trained to teach the Pledge of Nonviolence in area elementary schools, and 8th grade youth in St. Louis were also trained to teach the Pledge to the other grades in their schools.
Violent Offender Program
Since 1998, Jim McGinnis has worked as a volunteer-in-corrections with the Violent Offender Program (VOP) at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center. This unique intensive self-help program created by several inmates and run by inmate facilitators challenges other offenders to identify their criminal patterns of thinking and behavior, take full responsibility for their actions, and create a program for changing these patterns. The men who survive the intense 36 sessions (about 30%) move into relapse prevention and work on restorative justice, making amends to their family members, victims, and the community. AMAZING GRACE: The Story of the VOP is the title of the book the men wrote with Jim about this “amazing grace” in their lives. This program has been adapted for use in other correctional centers, with ex-offenders, and with at-risk youth, entitled “SOS – Solving Our Situations: Tools for Positive Change.”
Young Artists for Justice & Peace (YAJP)
Young Artists for Justice & Peace blossomed in 2008-09, as IPJ collaborated with Gitana Productions and others to inspire St. Louis area youth to create their own artistic performances of Dr. King’s message. As part of their commitment to live Dr. King’s message, many of these youth have assisted youth from the Juvenile Court system to create a “Stay in School” message to be performed, as well as a series of PSAs. A documentary film of the whole project is being prepared by Daring or Nothing Productions, and a curriculum on teaching Dr. King’s message is being developed to extend this project nationwide. The initial St. Louis performance will become an hour-long production to inaugurate IPJ’s 40th anniversary in January 2010.