Report from Peace in the Streets Conference, October 25-26

The Rotary Clubs of Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Windsor, Ontario, in collaboration with Wayne State University’s Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, held a two-day conference highlighting the root causes and potential solutions to violence in our communities. Entitled “Peace in the Streets,” the event took place October 25th at Wayne State University and October 26th at the University of Windsor Law School, Windsor, ON Canada.

Interactive presentations and panel discussions over both days focused on attaining peace and reducing violence in communities. Key topics included gun violence, human trafficking, human rights, restorative justice practices, immigration, indigenous rights, domestic and gender violence, neighborhood solutions and other crucial topics involving collective community engagement.

Samantha Fuentes, a survivor of the Parkland Florida school shooting spoke about her journey to becoming a Survivor Advocate.

Experts presented on projects, lived experiences and hands-on approaches from social justice perspectives to better understand the roots, dangers and threats involving levels of violence and misunderstanding, offering constructive and preventative strategies applicable to attendees’ lives.

Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri is a filmmaker who uses film to educate through social media about
Social justice including human trafficking of young girls from a global perspective.

“We’re excited to be able to follow-up last year’s Peace in the Streets presentations about peace in homes, schools, neighborhoods, bordering communities, offering solutions-based approaches. We also are proud to team with Rotary colleagues in Detroit, Windsor, Ann Arbor, Taylor and Toledo to broaden our impact. We welcomed junior Rotarians, Rotaract clubs from across Michigan, Ohio and Ontario,” said Dr. Fred Pearson, political science professor and director for WSU’s Center for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Rev Faith Fowler of Cass Corridor Social Services won a Community Peacemaker Award. Paul Smith and Bob Holmes serve on the Board.

”Peace in the Streets” included inspiring keynote speeches by Samantha Fuentes, gun violence survivor and activist from Parkland Florida,  as well as  Dr. Sakeena Yacoobi, Nobel Prize nominee from the Afghan Learning Institute, and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, international filmmaker, cultural anthropologist and social justice advocate.

Najah Bazzy of Zaman International won a Community Peacemaker Award for their work to combat poverty among women and their families. She has also been chosen as a top 10 CNN Hero.

RCAA Rotarians in attendance at Peace In The Streets included Rosemarie Rowney, Don Deatrick, Marcia Lane, Collyer Smith, Mary Avrakotos, Ebru Miserli, Bryan Mansfield, Eric Lipson, Ashish Sarkar, Norma Sarkar and Bob Holmes. Marcia and Ashish served on the Planning Committee.