Anyone else need some good news these days?
City Stay and Like a Girl are two places giving me hope. Youth are leading the way to peace:
While the news cycle was saturated with separating families at the border, the Muslim ban and shifts on the Supreme Court, four high schoolers quietly did the work of local peacemaking in the Twin Cities. In mid-June, four youth I work with participated in City Stay. They each spent five evenings with families from the area who identify as being part of the immigrant community. Nerves were evident from the hosts and participants as I sent them on their way on a Friday evening. By Monday morning, the youth were brimming with stories of trips to the Hmong market, bubble tea, traditional clothes, babies, chicken coops, hand tying ceremonies, Thai rolled ice cream, war stories, cooking Romanian soup, sipping Columbian hot chocolate, four generation households and shopping for fresh Pho ingredients. The families were warm and welcoming, teachers, forthcoming their stories and traditions. The youth listened and were grateful.
During the weekdays the youth volunteered at Peace House, met with politicians from immigrant communities, and explored museums and markets to deepen their cross-cultural experience. The program ended with a potluck. The youth sat at tables with their birth families and host families, eating tater tot hot dish and fresh spring rolls. Everyone was tired, and ready for some routine, but they were also energized by what they learned from each other. Our youth benefitted from radical hospitality. They were brave enough to challenge status quo and comfort to grow, intentionally crossing boundaries to learn more about their neighbors who celebrate a different culture. It felt both simple and profound.