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A Step Toward Non-Violence at Mayfair Mansions

cpdc-serviceworks-team-katie-o-marraBy Katie O’Marra, CPDC ServiceWorks

On Saturday, February 20, five weeks of skills training and event planning culminated in the Mayfair Mansions cohort of scholars’ capstone project.

These scholars worked as a team to decide that violence in their community was a major issue they wanted to address. They discussed that the violence they had experienced directly or indirectly had negatively affected their lives, and it would be up to them to stop the cycle.

This group of young people organized an anti-violence community event as a way for community leaders and members to gather together and discuss violence’s causes and effects, as well as ways for individuals to stop the violence.

There was a collaborative art piece to be hung in the Mayfair Mansions community center, a fruitful group discussion, and an impactful presentation from honored guest, Tony Lewis Jr. Lewis. Lewis, a community activist, native Washingtonian, and author of Slugg: A Boy’s Life in the Age of Mass Incarceration, shared his thoughts on personal decisions and accountability in vdetermining the outcome of one’s life.

His words surely resonated strongly with everyone present, especially the young scholars.The event was a step in the right direction for a community and a group of youth battling the enduring trauma of recurring violence, and an excellent opportunity for all of their voices to be heard.

Katie O’Marra is a native New Yorker and recent graduate of Fordham University in the Bronx, where she studied International Political Economy, Sociology, and Arabic. She brings to ServiceWorks a passion for building strong communities in service—a mission fortified during her years as an executive board member and team leader for Global Outreach service projects. These interests were further realized during Katie’s six month journey in Amman, Jordan where she worked with an NGO to bring sports camp to girls taking refuge in Jordan from their homelands of Syria, Palestine, and Iraq. Katie hopes to continue creating intentional and safe communities for young people of all backgrounds in her work as a ServiceWorks VISTA at CPDC.


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