The Blossoming of DC Peace Team
It all started with a Friendship and a Collective Commitment to Peacebuilding!
In 2010, Cortez McDaniel was serving as 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. Cortez, then a returning citizen who has just successfully completed a Homecomers program, was committed to rebuilding family and communities of support, including a community that would care for persons experiencing unsheltered homelessness around the McKenna Center. Prior to meeting Cortez, Eli was already involved in social justice and peacebuilding efforts and possessed an extensive community organizing experience. He had 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.
The two men shared their stories and discovered a common commitment to fostering a sustainable just peace in the city’s most violent and longstanding conflict zones. They discussed launching an experiment focusing on implementing peacebuidling strategies in Washington, DC and organized brainstorming sessions with local community members and peace activists to 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 that will 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, partnered with the DC Police, 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 creation, our team has continued to grow and expand. Current points of focus include community engagement, unarmed civilian protection and accompaniment, restorative justice circles, and skills trainings. Past activities include monitoring the March for Life and a Drones protest, offering a restorative justice training at Georgetown University, working with youth in the juvenile
justice system, and offering a 2-day training in nonviolent conflict intervention to 60 DC Police officers working in the school system. We hope you will come walk with us.
Support our Work
Thank you for your support. Your investment enable 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.