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UNITY Lab Tools for Change: EMBRACE CULTURE
The Institute for Advancing Unity continues to develop transformational learning experiences based on the UNITY Lab's Tools for Change: unity-building strategies that empower individuals to create positive change in their lives, their communities, and the world.
Sierra Health Foundation Awards Grant
Empowering Sacramento Schools to Reduce Bullying
The Institute for Advancing Unity is the recipient of a $25,000 grant to improve school climate in Sacramento. The Sierra Health Foundation made this possible through its Responsive Grants Program, which awarded 18 separate grants in the 2011 cycle and promotes improved health and quality of life for the people of Northern California.
Protecting Heritage: EMBRACING CULTURE
On January 21, the School Climate Consortium held its first congressional briefing. Convened by the Institute for Advancing Unity, consortium partners Community Matters, Challenge Day, and the Petaluma City School District presented “Bullying Prevention Strategies that Work: How Programs and Policies Transform our Communities.” The forum highlighted proven methods of community and government collaboration to reduce violence and harassment in schools. More than 50 participants from legislative offices, national education organizations, and federal agencies attended the briefing.
The Institute’s commitment to building unity in schools and communities across the nation continues year-round. To hit the ground running in 2011, the Institute and partners have formed the School Climate Consortium— a national collaborative of youth-serving nonprofits, community-based organizations, and local education agencies. The Consortium’s guiding principle is that positive school climate is essential to creating an environment in which youth can learn and thrive.
The Omega Boys Club, founded in 1987 by Dr. Joesph E. Marshall, Jr. (this month’s extraORDINARY Person), focuses on youth development and violence prevention. Omega’s mission to “keep youth alive [unharmed by violence] and free [from incarceration]” initiated the Alive & Free Initiative, now recognized by the Annie E Casey Foundation as one of the nation’s 15 most promising models. In fact, the City of San Francisco has adopted Alive & Free as its uniform violence prevention prescription.
Dr. Joseph Marshall, Jr. is an author, activist, and veteran street soldier. Founder of the anti-violence movement Alive & Free, Marshall draws audiences from across the country to his weekly radio program, Street Soldiers— a name Dr. Marshall uses to describe people working to eliminate violence in their communities. To help keep his own community safer, Dr. Marshall co-founded the Omega Boys Club after years of working as a middle school teacher and seeing too many of his students lost to drugs and violence.
While much of today's media highlights violence as a means to solve conflict, many courageous people have demonstrated that discrimination and exclusion can be "combated" with nonviolence. The UNITY Lab's first floor will feature one of the most powerful and timeless social change tools--Protest.
On September 23, 2010 former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution Bill to create a day to recognize Korematsu, who bravely resisted the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
The Institute for Advancing Unity continues to address local students' needs by bringing the Challenge Day program to South Sacramento Schools as part of the Sacramento Building Healthy Communities initiative of The California Endowment.