The Blossoming of the DC Peace Team
It all started with a friendship and a shared commitment to sustainable just peace!
In 2010, Cortez McDaniel was a Community Change Agent at Phelps Stokes National Homecomers Academy (NHA) when he met Dr. Eli McCarthy, then Director of Social Justice at a local parish and professor at Georgetown University. As a returning citizen who had just completed a Homecomers program, Cortez was committed to rebuilding family and fostering communities of support. Such communities included one that would support persons experiencing unsheltered homelessness around the McKenna Center. Prior to meeting Cortez, Eli had been involved in social justice and peacebuilding efforts for years and possessed an extensive community organizing experience. He had also received rigorous training from the Nonviolent Peace Force, an organization that offers unarmed civilian peacekeeping and supports communities in conflict outside of the U.S.
When sharing their stories, Eli and Cortez realized that they were both committed to advancing sustainable just peace in the city’s most violent conflict zones. They discussed the idea of working with the community to develop and implement more effective peacebuilding strategies in Washington, DC and met with several local community members and peace activists to further explore this idea.
Thanks to the collaborative efforts and dedication of Eli, Cortez, MJ and Jerry of Little Friends for Peace, Curtis Watkins, and several local community members, DC Peace Team was born in 2011 with a primary focus of recruiting and training unarmed civilian peacekeepers to address the needs of their community.
Continuous Community Engagement and Growth
Below are some of our milestones.
In 2011, we built a strong network of internal and external stakeholders, trained 25 community participants in nonviolent conflict intervention skills, including 5 Homecomers as trainers, and participated in the existing Safe Passage program, which accompanies youth on their way to school in high risk neighborhoods.
In 2012, we developed a six-month program that focused on monitoring the Gallery Place Chinatown area on a weekly basis with the purpose of defusing conflict, observing police behavior, and collecting conflict-related data to help improve local peace efforts. We also coordinated a youth violence prevention conference, facilitated a screening of the documentary The Interrupters for three community groups, offered another basic training to 25 community participants, and continued the Safe Passage accompaniment program. In late 2012, we began monitoring political demonstrations with the goal of defusing hostility and violence and fostering empathy from all sides. For a full list of activities carried out from 2012 to the present, visit our archive and home page.
Since its inception, the DC Peace Team has continued to grow and expand. Current points of focus include community engagement, unarmed civilian protection and accompaniment, restorative justice circles, anti-racism, and nonviolent skills trainings. We hope you will come walk with us.
Support our Work
Thank you for your support. Your investment enables us to contribute to sustainable peace and justice. Below are some ways to make a monetary gift. All donations are tax deductible.
Make a tax deductible donation.
May you choose to donate by check, make your check payable to "DC Peace Team" and mail it to the address listed below.
c/o DC Peace Team
7305 Baylor Ave.
College Park, MD 20740
Make a tax deductible donation.
It's easy to donate offline too.
Donations can be made during in-person trainings.