Milwaukee students present nonviolent conflict resolution program at Harvard University

Students come from the inner-city
Posted at 8:45 PM, Mar 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-06 23:26:16-05

A group of Milwaukee teens think they have the ideas that will stop people from using guns to solve problems, and they were invited to an Ivy League school over the past weekend to show others how it works.

The group of junior and senior students from the Alliance School of Milwaukee turned into Harvard University presenters over the weekend, hoping to spread their message of nonviolent conflict resolution.

They brought a video along with the idea of “circle keeping” to educators, which goes back to Native Americans who used the practice of sitting in circles and talking to resolve conflicts.

"Ways to cultivate relationship and ways to really learn about the mistakes we make," said Heather Sattler who teachers at The Alliance School of Milwaukee. "Interrupt the school to prison pipeline." 

The goal is to help students who repeatedly make harmful or disruptive choices break the cycle. It's older students who help lead it, but they first learn to help themselves.

"I just didn't listen to a lot of people. I was constantly angry all the time," said Deveon Handley, a senior at Alliance.

"Just always angry, always mad at the world," said Tremel Elliot, a junior at Alliance.

What the students learn makes a difference in their school and home life.

"See how powerful I could be without using violent actions and just using my voice," Handley said.

And they help other students at school feel the same.

"If they feel like they don't have a voice they can come here and talk to us," said Tremand Robinson, a senior.

At Harvard they shared with more than 20 different educators and they do not plan on stopping.

"This small school in Milwaukee and the work that we do here has just spread across everywhere, you know," Elliot said.

It took the students five months to prepare for their presentation. They also received grants to pay for the trip.

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