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Mar 15, 2018

Shifting Culture: Breaking Cycles of Violence

Fly By Light Alumni Chucky
Fly By Light Alumni Chucky

 

One Common Unity has been off to a great start in 2018! Thanks to your support, we have been very busy scaling up our programs across D.C., engaging thousands more students in our programming.

After months of preparation, in January 2018 our amazing team of facilitators launched our new Fly By Light in-school programs at eight public middle schools and high schools representing all eight wards of Washington, DC. This new in-school programming comes in addition to the after-school and weekend programs we run at a further three middle schools.

Our programming focuses on non-violence, social emotional literacy, health and wellness, social justice, artistic expression, conflict resolution and mindfulness and vastly expands opportunities for youth to realize their full potential and become socially and emotionally literate leaders and adults. Ultimately, we hope and expect that our expanded engagement as an in-school program will enable school-wide culture shifts away from violence and trauma and towards more peaceful, inspiring learning environments for our youth.

As an example of some of our work in schools, our facilitators work with administrators and teachers to implement mindfulness in-and-out of the classroom. As a mindfulness, restorative justice, and trauma informed alternative to the traditional detention room, at each of our schools we establish an “Intention Room” to offer youth a safe space to process their emotions, expand self-awareness and positively shift behavior. Stepping into the Intention Room students find a far more peaceful environment designed for meditation, restorative justice dialogues, and expressive arts activities.

Simply providing students a few minutes each day for a mindfulness practice often allows students to go on with the rest of their day in a more relaxed and grounded way. As one teacher at Hart Middle School said to our program facilitator, Rashid Hughes: “I really like how the students are able to be with you for the first twenty minutes of class because they transition back to me much calmer and ready to do work.” Fly By Light is shifting the school culture of violence –– one breath at a time!

On Tuesday February 27th, we hosted our “Fly By Light Youth Winter Showcase” at Busboys and Poets’ 5th & K location. Focused on the theme “Breaking Stereotypes and Speaking Truth.”our Fly By Light Performance Troupe, which is comprised of many of the most talented youth artists from across DC, shared powerful, vulnerable, inspiring and moving original pieces to a full house. Their art ranged from rap to interpretative dance, visual art, poetry, acapella, and spoken word. They never cease to amaze us! To check out clips and photos of that night check out our Facebook and Instagram. We send a big thank you to Andy Shallal and the Busboys and Poets team for having us!  

In the wake of the recent school shooting in Florida, youth across the country have come together to mobilize a movement to change gun policy. At each of our schools, Fly By Light youth have engaged in profound conversations to imagine peaceful schools and address safety in their lives and are working in their communities to bring people together to attend the March For Our Lives March taking place on March 24th.  

We want to thank you for your support as we continue to shift the culture of silence and violence to positive praxis, language and action!

FBL Performance Troupe, Winter Winter Showcase
FBL Performance Troupe, Winter Winter Showcase
"Self-Acceptance" (Visual Art) by Marshmallow
"Self-Acceptance" (Visual Art) by Marshmallow
"Nowhere to Run" Preformance by Nfinity Zhy
"Nowhere to Run" Preformance by Nfinity Zhy
Winter Showcase 2018
Winter Showcase 2018
Dec 14, 2017

We Are Stronger Together!

OCU 2017 Holiday Party
OCU 2017 Holiday Party

“Unity is strength...when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” –– Mattie Stepanek

Here at One Common Unity, we pride ourselves on being a FAMILY. A family of all different races, ethnicities, classes, gender expressions, religions, and backgrounds. A family that recognizes we have something truly in common: a love for humanity and a love for each other. In wake of all the divisiveness that has occurred this year, we will never be shaken and moved from our core values –– which are love, peace, and respect for EVERYONE. So, as the year closes, we want to thank you for constantly supporting our youth and our mission to create compassionate communities in D.C. and beyond!

Our 2nd Annual Peace Ride was a huge success! Because of your kindness and giving, we were able to raise $7,667 to support our youth development programs. You rock! To see for yourselves how amazing the Peace Ride was, check out our Facebook photo album. In November, we also screened our “Fly By Light” film at Catharsis on the National Mall: A Vigil for Healing!

Our Fly By Light Performance Troupe is continuously spreading love, peace, and light through musical performances in D.C.! This month, our very own, Angell and T.K. performed at the “Legacy of Love” celebration at Howard University. Sponsored by the Black Child Development Institute of the D.C.-Metro area, the event honored Black educators and advocates for education and inclusivity. Also in December, FBL performers Delvin, Keith, Nardia, and Shardia led an arts and peace education workshop at the Hill Center. They taught youth how to create hip hop songs and how to play the drums! To see snippets of Angell and T.K.’s performance and the workshop at the Hill Center, you can click here and here.

Because of you, we are able to continue to grow our OCU family and sow, plant and water seeds of peace. As we move into the New Year, we have SO many great plans and activities in store and can’t wait to share with you our progress. Once again, we are thankful for your love and support! Please stay updated on our latest news by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all! 



Some OCU Peace Ride Participants
Some OCU Peace Ride Participants
Workshop at Hill Center
Workshop at Hill Center
Fly By Light screening at Catharsis on the Mall
Fly By Light screening at Catharsis on the Mall
Angell and T.K. Performance at Howard University
Angell and T.K. Performance at Howard University

Links:

Sep 18, 2017

Creating Community in Wake of Contentious Politics

Photo Credit: One Common Unity
Photo Credit: One Common Unity

"Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experience molds us into fascinating beings. I hope we can embrace that. I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this life together." — Linda Thompson

Summer has come and gone, but as we transition into this new season, One Common Unity has so many things to be grateful for — and YOU are one of them! Thank you for your support as we continue in our mission to promote peace and unity. In wake of these vexing times, we are thankful for you and we are grateful for our amazing youth who daily share their light, positivity and community values. Just as Linda Thompson said above, we all are in this life together and therefore, we need each other to catalyze true change. With that being said, we want to give you a few updates on the work we are doing to revolutionize our communities and ultimately, the world!

On October 1st, we will be hosting our second annual Peace Ride! The Peace Ride is an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, get some exercise, meet great people, and support our award-winning youth development programs. We are pedaling for peace and we are inviting you to get on your bike and pedal with us! For more information about the Peace Ride and to register, please visit http://ocupeaceride.com. Can’t make it? If you are not able to ride yourself, you can still support and sponsor one of our many riders!

We are super excited to announce we had four retreats this summer with over 50 youth participants! Beginning with our first-ever Fly By Light alumni retreat, where the first Fly By Light participants from our award-winning film reunited for the first time in five years, to our other restorative retreats in Maryland and West Virginia, we are still in awe of how our youth have transformed socially, emotionally, and spiritually from their immersion in nature.

In August, we led the Empowering Males of Color Leadership Retreat, sponsored by District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and in partnership with the Leading Men Fellowship, CHEC Bellman, and Eastern Men of Excellence. Filled with conversations on social justice, social-emotional learning, and equity, the Leadership Project allowed for youth to share their personal stories of trial, success, growth, and development while connecting with and learning from others.

Our final retreat was in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, where our young people discussed and shared ways to revolutionize their lives, their neighborhoods, and the global community.

Once again, we are thankful for your love and support! Please stay updated on our latest news by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Photo Credit: One Common Unity
Photo Credit: One Common Unity
Photo Credit:  Tyler Grigsby
Photo Credit: Tyler Grigsby
EMOC participants | Photo Credit: One Common Unity
EMOC participants | Photo Credit: One Common Unity
FBL retreat | Photo Credit: Tyler Grisby
FBL retreat | Photo Credit: Tyler Grisby

Links:

 
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