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High school engages students in nonviolent peacemaking

At our high school, Gonzaga College High School, in Washington, DC, we help equip students with practical skills to become the peacemakers that Jesus called “blessed” (Mt. 5:9). In some of our required courses, on Ethics and Social Justice, we educate about the long Catholic tradition around nonviolent peacemaking and building a just peace. We provide practical contemporary examples of effective nonviolence as part of the civil rights movement, restorative justice, Amish nonviolent response to a violent attack, and others. We emphasize that loving our neighbors entails concrete strategies and we work to equip students with tools to use in their personal lives to de-escalate conflict, prevent date rape, and engage in bystander intervention.  Our Gonzaga Peace Club has brought speakers to campus from Palestine and other countries where groups of people have resisted peacefully in the context of institutionalized violence. Our club also engages students in advocacy on immigration and other issues. Our school recently participated in a joint conference on justice and peacemaking skills with other area Catholic high schools.