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Peace by Piece: Youth Take Action

Client and Objective:
The Oregon Peace Institute, a non-profit organization, wanted to inspire young people to work for peace and social justice, and to solve conflicts non-violently. With funding made possible through the generosity of a major donor, the Oregon Peace Institute planned to produce a video program about historic Oregon peacemakers. The documentary would screen at the May 14, 2001 Portland, "Youth Summit" with the Dalai Lama.

Green Fire suggested that the documentary focus on young people in Oregon who are working to break the cycle of violence, racism, and prejudice. Teens would respond more enthusiastically to a program profiling the exemplary efforts of their peers, rather than one focused on lessons and stories from adults. Green Fire knew that to reach this teen audience the program had to be authentic. We recruited teen interns and formed a teen production team who worked alongside us throughout the program’s production. The result was a fast-paced, engaging, and powerful documentary about critical issues confronting young people, and what some of them are doing to make a difference.

On May 14, 2001, after hearing the Dalai Lama speak, 10,000 teens watched Peace by Piece: Youth Take Action on three screens in the Portland Memorial Coliseum — a hard act to follow! The audience went wild as they connected with the personal stories that reinforced what the Dalai Lama had shared. The excitement generated by Peace by Piece, prompted teens, Green Fire, and the Oregon Peace Institute to develop an entire Youth Take Action campaign, which includes a local radio show, facilitated teen forums and an action tool kit. As a result, youth have been empowered to take action in dismantling the roots of violence, discrimination, and racism.

"Peace by Piece: Youth Take Action, with its gritty, in your face attitude and very hip approach, grabs teen audiences and engages them immediately on the very tough issues of racism, violence, and prejudice. I’ve watched it open up intense discussions everywhere we show it — from small gatherings to key note presentations for 400 middle school students, from rural to urban — it’s the ticket for us to engage youth." — Rachel O’Rourke, Oregon Peace Institute

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