RichmondPeaceEducationCenter

By Jon Headlee

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(Video of a peace vigil)

The Richmond Peace Education Center was formed in June of 1980 in an attempt to widen the community’s awareness of the need to find more peaceful approaches to conflict. The main concern of the group was the building arms race between the United States and Russia , as well as the proxy wars caused by that conflict. As the organization grew, it branched out and broadened its focus. After the fall of the USSR , the subsequent end of the arms race, and the quick resolution to the first Gulf War, the impetus for anti-war protesting diminished. As a result, Richmond Peace Education Center began to focus much of its effort on nonviolent conflict resolution in the Richmond area, efforts that now make up the bulk of the organization’s continuing service and outreach programs.

While religious organizations have played a significant role in the formation and development of the Richmond Peace Education Center , it is a non-religious, secular organization. Richmond Peace Education Center truly became an independent organization when it moved its offices from the Catholic Diocese to the Berryman Center in Woodland Heights . The organization continues to partner with many different faith organizations, and Richmond Peace Education Center receives donations from some Richmond congregations and religious organizations.

Richmond Peace Education Center carries out many programs designed to educate children and prevent violence. The Conflict Resolution Training Workshops are designed to teach both children and adults skills for how to avoid violence and how to seek a peaceful resolution in conflicts. The Richmond Youth Peace Project is a violence prevention and leadership program sponsored by Richmond Peace Education Center and Drums No Guns for teenagers that gives the participants opportunities to express their ideas and concerns in a positive manner through the arts. The Public Education on Peace Issues is a public forum on issues and topics related to war and peace. The Racial Justice Committee provides a dialogue and opportunity for action promoting racial justice and reconciliation. The Eyes Wide Open exhibit is a traveling exhibit in protest of the War in Iraq that shows the human cost of the war through display of empty combat boots. Lastly, Richmond Peace Education Center holds an annual Peace Essay Contest for children kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Richmond Peace Education Center ‘s membership (those who receive its newsletter) exceeds one thousand and seventeen local congregations support the organization. Though it is not required, Richmond Peace Education Center strongly encourages its members to volunteer, and the organization relies heavily on volunteers to pursue their mission to work for a just and peaceful community.

Richmond Peace Education Center
400 West 32 nd Street
Richmond , VA 23225
(804)-232-1002

Sources:
Richmond Peace Education Center website
Executive Director, Richmond Peace Education Center

Profile prepared by Jon Headlee
December, 2007

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