3 Ways Inner City Schools Can Help Their Students Avoid Violence

3 Ways Inner City Schools Can Help Their Students Avoid Violence

One of the biggest struggles inner city youth face today is rampant violence at home and at school. Many of these youth come from tough home environments and are often faced with even harder challenges once they reach school grounds. Often times, conflicts that originate in the class room, gym or lunch room, follow them into their neighborhoods after the bell rings at the end of the day. Here are 3 effective strategies schools can teach students to help them deal with potentially violent situations. 1. Conflict Resolution A good way to teach effective conflict resolution strategies is to use role playing. Set up the scenario of a situation of bullying, violence, or even drug use. Throughout these scenarios, group leaders can show students the best ways to deal with the various situations they might find themselves in. Doing a tracking exercise could prove to be another beneficial way in teaching such strategies. Leaders could have students simple observe and track different situations of conflict and violence that they might encounter throughout their day at school. Come back as a group and discuss those situations and how they could have been handled to prevent a negative outcome. Simple teaching of good listening and observation techniques can prove to be of huge benefit. Often times the body language of someone can be misconstrued and taken in the wrong context, therefore leading to an unnecessary conflict between two or more people. 2. Critical Thinking Teaching students to simply stop and think before reacting to perceived negative situations will prove to be beneficial when it comes to preventing bullying and violence. Often...
Black Lives Matter: A Social Movement For Real Change

Black Lives Matter: A Social Movement For Real Change

Black Lives Matter is a movement that started on 13th of July in 2013. Founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, the social movement focused on systemic racism and gun violence meted out to African Americans, or black people. The movement started in the United States and has gained traction around the world. However, the movement remains concentrated and mostly relevant in the United States. Black Lives Matter aims to end gun violence and police brutality against African Americans. It also partly focuses on gun control. In a broader sense, the movement opposes the systemic racism that has existed in the United States for centuries and even though slavery has been abolished and blacks have the same rights as whites, the menace of racism still exists as undercurrents in the society. At times, the undercurrents come to the fore and result in different kinds of incidents. From police brutality to targeted shooting of black people, the underlying racism persisting in the American society has become more obvious in recent years. Black Lives Matter: Origins Black Lives Matter started as a social media movement protesting the deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers. The police brutality shed light on the larger issue of racial inequality and that there was embedded racism in the criminal justice system of the country. What started as trending issue on social media with #BlackLivesMatter after the acquittal of George Zimmerman who was charged with shooting African-American teen Trayvon Martin quickly became a social movement that galvanized public support which had been building up over the years. As Black Lives...
How to stop the spike in New York City gun violence?

How to stop the spike in New York City gun violence?

In 2015, there was a spike in New York City’s gun violence crime rate. Murders were up 19% and shooting incidents increased nearly 10% compared to the same time last year. Many New Yorkers are alarmed and concerned. They want to know why the city’s youth are so violent, and more importantly, where are they getting all these illegal guns from? As the founder of Wheelchairs Against Guns, a nonprofit organization that conducts anti-violence workshops at NYC schools, I come into contact with inner city youth on a daily basis, so I would like to share my insights on these issues. I cant say for sure where all these weapons are coming from, but I can tell you from first hand experience, guns are as enticing to our inner city kids as a new pair of Air Jordan’s. And considering the number of incidents involving gun violence, it seems the guns are easier and/or cheaper to get than a new pair of sneakers. How can we begin to address this problem of gun violence?   Social scientist say the violence amongst our youth is due to mental illnesses, but I don’t agree. I don’t want to label our inner city youth “sick” because I believe these issues stem from a lack of productive alternatives in their communities. Illegal guns and drugs flood lower income neighborhoods and the at-risk kids that need resources the most aren’t receiving any.  Most are left without positive guidance and are looking for direction anywhere they can find it. Unfortunately, that usually means joining the neighborhood street gangs. These kids are constantly exposed to negativity and the...