An exciting collaboration with middle school students from Saint Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven and CELC students began Thursday as part of an ongoing study focusing on Kingian Nonviolence. Drummer and storyteller Gameliel Moses led the group in activities to enable students to discover what they have in common.  The group played a variety of movement activities and teambuilding games and then played music in a call-and-response style based in rhythmic improvisation.

For today’s class artist Janet Zamparo worked with students to explore the qualities of heroes, considering who are the heroes in their lives in preparation for creating a multimedia  hero tree collage.

These students will gather for three more sessions over the next month to create community and art-based projects, all while exploring concepts related to nonviolence. The group will then begin a nonviolence club to
continue this work and bring information into their schools, families, and the greater community.

This program is made possible by the CT Center for Nonviolence, an organization based in Hartford that works to teach Kingian Nonviolence Reconciliation through arts and education.  Students will work with a curriculum that was developed by a group of civil rights leaders, including Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr., who worked directly with Dr. King and remains active in his directive from Dr. King to “institutionalize nonviolence”.  Dr. King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence, understanding the types and levels of conflict, and exploring the concept of agape love are just some of the components with which the nonviolence club will work.

Students will create a teach-back that they can share with peers and younger students and also will work with New Haven high school students who are involved in the ThinKing Youth Nonviolence Leadership program.

The two middle schools plan to form a “nonviolence club” that will study and promote the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., working to incorporate and encourage the use of effective strategy alternatives to violence as a means to understand and work through conflict.