The St. Louis Peace Education Program has, since 2012, addressed the school-to-prison pipeline by working with young people most affected by unjust systems. In schools, participants learn to mediate conflicts among peers in order to prevent violence—and consequences like arrests and suspensions.
Building peaceful school communities is part of a larger, youth-led effort to change institutions that expose young people to violence, limit economic opportunities, and provide disparate access to resources.
In 2014, AFSC held the first St. Louis Freedom School and formed a chapter of Youth Undoing Institutional Racism. These programs, based on the model of AFSC’s Seattle program, build an analysis of how poverty and violence in St. Louis relate to a history of structural and institutional racism. As these programs grow, participants will implement projects that challenge racism nonviolently.