Contributed by Bill Leight
NEWS RELEASE 6 April 2006 - The San Juan Bautista Peace Dojo opened today under Iglesia San Juan Bautista, Episcopal, in the South Bronx, NY. The Rev. Marķa Isabel Santiviago, Vicar, welcomed Ira Steinberg of Bond Street Dojo (aikido) , Bill Leicht, Ss. and Milton Román, both of Urban Visions, Inc. and fourteen participants to the opening session at St. Margaret's Church gymnasium. This new SJB Peace Dojo joins the PS183 Peace Dojo, now in its third year, in teaching assertive alternatives to both bullying and victim behaviors.
Mr. Leicht, Mr. Román and Mr. Steinberg are volunteer trainers in the program, which reaches youth at the street level and from the street organizations. The Peace Dojo approach, which melds aikido, meditation, council circle, verbal conflict resolution and "original play", has proven effective in previous settings in transforming aggressive and passive responses to conflict.
SJB Peace Dojo now meets on Thursday evenings at 490 E 156 Street, Bronx. In the near future, the teen participants in the SJB Peace Dojo will also receive instruction from elementary students of the PS183 Peace Dojo and graduates of the former "Bronx Peace Dojo."
The Rev. Santiviago, a seasoned social activist, was a research assistant in the early stages of the study of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation ("Latin Kings") that led to the ground-breaking book, ALKQN by David Brotherton, PhD and Fr. Luis Barrios, PhD. As Vicar, she hired Mr. Santos Bobet to serve as Coordinator in her Youth Outreach Program. Mr. Bobet, an experienced outreach worker has had a long-standing membership in La Asociación Pro Derechos del Confinado ("ÑETA") a street organization often misidentified as a "gang." Mr. Bobet and Mr. Leicht, Ss. have been collaborating closely to develop the new San Juan Bautista Peace Dojo for the youth of their "Peace Warriors" group.
To view pictures of the peace dojos in action, please visit http://urbanvisionsinc.org. Contact: Bill Leicht, 212-228-0980 or by email from the website.