‘Spaces of Peace’ Event in New York

“Spaces of Peace: A Gathering of a Community of Practice” was held on 10 May 2024 at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY) in Manhattan, New York City. This event was attended by leaders of non-profit organizations and individual researchers based in New York and Los Angeles who are engaged in the promotion or research of nonviolent, unarmed or abolitionist practices of community self-protection. Participating organizations include the Alliance for Community Transit – Los Angeles (ACT-LA) and Nonviolent Peaceforce.

The gathering aimed at fostering a dialogue between international practices of unarmed civilian protection and local unarmed, nonviolent or abolition movements in the U.S. Key themes discussed by participants include the shared practices and challenges of international practices of unarmed civilian protection and the work of abolition locally, the kinds of infrastructures and relationships required in sustaining the work of abolition, and ways of expanding solidarity as a community of practice of unarmed community protection across different spaces and places. Participants also viewed and reflected upon three documentary films from the Creating Safer Space research network: Civil protection to stay on our land: Palestine (director: Mahmoud Makrameh), Minga (Director: Malala Lekander), and When a Young Blood Bleeds (Producers: Spontaneous the Poet, Martha Okumu, Rachel Akinyi, Peace Tree Network).

The gathering was co-organized by Prof. Nerve Macaspac, Co-Investigator for Creating Safer Space research network, and Flip Zang, a PhD student of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) at the Graduate Center. Prof. Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, Principal Investigator of Creating Safer Space, and Prof. Rachel Julian, Co-Investigator, participated at the event and provided an overview of the 26 research projects funded by the network and updates from the recent Creating Safer Space exhibition at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York.