SAVANNAH, Ga. (Aug. 16, 2022) – The Mediation Center of the Coastal Empire, Inc. is delighted to host the inaugural Savannah Day of Peace on Sunday, September 25 from noon to 4 p.m. at Daffin Park, located at Victory Drive and Waters Avenue, in Savannah, Ga. This event, which is free and open to the public, will offer opportunities for community members to increase the peace, counter violence, become conflict-resilient and encourage unity.
The Savannah Day of Peace will feature a Peace Parade led by Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and Savannah City Council members, Courageous Conversation Circles designed to encourage deeper dialogue to promote peacebuilding, a wellness area for mental health and a Youth Artists Corner. The 2022 Peacebuilder Award Honoree will also be announced, and the City of Savannah’s new Peace Proclamation will be on display.
“Savannah is known as Georgia’s First City, and we’re deeply honored to be the first city in the Peach State to celebrate the International Day of Peace in an intentional way,” said Jill Cheeks, Executive Director of The Mediation Center of the Coastal Empire, Inc. “We want to bring people together to build relationships among citizens, focus on the good in our community, celebrate local peacebuilders and increase the peace. This event is a coordinated effort by the community to counter violence and to save lives.”
The Mediation Center plans to maintain the momentum and to create a larger movement by organizing monthly peacebuilding events at different locations across Chatham County. These events will feature neighborhood-based activities designed to engage local community members, youth, faith leaders, law enforcement, business and professional associations in peacebuilding efforts.
“Peacebuilding is an important activity that aims to resolve injustice in nonviolent ways and to transform the cultural and structural conditions that generate deadly or destructive conflict,” said Sherlisa Praylo, The Mediation Center of the Coastal Empire’s Director of Restorative Practices and Community Outreach. “It revolves around developing constructive personal, group and political relationships across ethnic, religious, class, national and racial boundaries. The process includes violence prevention, conflict resolution, post-conflict reconciliation and trauma healing.”
According to a Pew Research Center survey of 10,000 Americans, Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines than at any point in the last two decades. Social isolation, coupled with declining civic engagement, has created an even more disillusioned and disaffected society. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control reports that in 2020, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., which is more than any year on record.
According to the Savannah Police Department, Savannah had 1,134 violent crimes in 2021, including 34 homicides and 788 aggravated assaults. Violent crime categories that saw increases in Savannah from 2020 and 2021 include homicide (9%) and residential robbery (41%).
Community mediation provides more than just an alternative to litigation or violence — it offers constructive, intentional processes for resolving differences and conflicts between individuals, groups and organizations. Ultimately, mediation reinforces the social infrastructure undergirding society and builds bridges across identity, sector, class and ideological divides.
ABOUT THE MEDIATION CENTER OF THE COASTAL EMPIRE:
Founded in 1986, The Mediation Center of the Coastal Empire, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving the greater Savannah community. The organization’s mission is to harness the power of qualified volunteers, facilitate the process of citizens proactively managing conflict, provide alternatives to litigation and increase access to justice. With help from volunteers, donations and grant funding to maintain and build on the programs that have been developed over the years, The Mediation Center supports people from all walks of life who are trying to resolve their conflicts through mediation, rather than taking the issue to court. In addition, The Mediation Center supports children in the community through three Youth Programs and assists area families through the Family Law Resource Center. Learn more: mediationsavannah.com.