Thirty Latino and African-American middle school students demonstrated their conviction to make their community safer for all people across barriers of race, religion and socio-economic status following the completion of their participation in the Cross-Community Engagement (CCE) pilot program in Jersey City, the most diverse city in the United States. CCE graduates were recognized on June 15 at New Jersey City University's Hepburn Hall.
Initiated by Global Peace Foundation (GPF) and Co-operation Ireland, CCE is based on a program that successfully mediated conflict among Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland, utilizing icebreaker and teambuilding activities to build trust and partnerships between youth of various ethnic groups within Jersey City. This unique program launched in July of 2016 incorporates the leadership of faith groups, government and nonprofits to mentor youth to recognize and resolve identity-based attitudes and behaviors.
Working with local government, faith organizations and community leaders, youth from CCE took initiative over the challenging issue of violence in their city. CCE campaigned, participated in vigils and hosted a town hall meeting, all in an effort to raise awareness of violent crime and prevention methods founded on the vision of one family.
Youth not only gained robust leadership training, but also a unique opportunity to expand their perspective with a diverse group of young leaders, preparing them to succeed as citizens of an increasingly multicultural society and the unique set of challenges that come with it.
Read more from NJ.com: 30 Jersey City students complete anti-violence pilot program