The fourth Cohort of 2022 was a true example of building a Beloved Community. Despite a wide age range, this group of young women and men quickly established a camaraderie that set the stage for honest and open discussions during the two week program.
In the safe space they created, members came to realize common struggles even though their individual experiences differed, from victims to aggressors to survivors, as well as being caught somewhere in between. Working together, and with the encouragement and guidance of NVI staff and guest speakers, many came to understand that the violence they were experiencing seemed natural and they were not processing what was actually happening.
The discussions were deep and, at times, emotional. "My values have been shaped by my failures," one member said. A big breakthrough occured when another stated, "I have been waiting for someone to have the courage or space to talk to me about forgiveness and reconciliation." In the final analysis, the cohort agreed that encouragement from the entire group was a strong factor that would help them make change.
A Joyous Celebration
Encouraged by friends, family, and staff, some members of the Cohort took to the podium to offer thanks and acknowledge the help that has led to a new outlook:
“My school introduced me to the Institute and that’s really what changed everything for me. I had so much anger and I just wanted to get back at whatever I could, but when I came here it made everything different, everything better." - Mario
"Life humbled me ... I realized in these two weeks that I'm not a coward, I will practice Nonviolence for real." - Yoelvis
"This program really made me understand that I'm not alone, there's a lot of people here who go through the same things I go through, think the same things I think and it's really important me for to understand that ... you've got people next to you who are supporting you." - Mireyshka
Funding for this program is being provided by the ARPA City of Providence Anti-Violence Investment.