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Flossmoor resident organizes peaceology project

On Wednesday, May 1, Flossmoor resident Peter K. B. St. Jean, had the Flossmoor Community Church sanctuary filled with talk of community, vision and peace, following the walkout demonstration at Homewood-Flossmoor High School the day before.
St. Jean, chair of the sociology department and director of the criminal justice program at North Park University, is a trained peaceologist. He believes the time he spent in the U.S. Army helped form his understanding of peace as a powerful tool for change.
“I spent 12 years in the U.S. Army,” he said. “I was trained to kill. Now, I use that training to work to save lives. It takes a lot of nerve to kill and destroy but also to nourish and develop. Peaceology moves the world from an economy of violence to one of peace.” 

St. Jean is hosting a second session from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, at the church, 2218 Hutchinson Rd. It is open to all members of the community.

The professor describes peaceology as a multidisciplinary study of the humanities, business science and social studies. He said the peaceology forum May 1 at FCC was not a “one stop show,” and instead, was the first in a series. 
“What we hope to produce is the capacity for the group to organize itself in order to attain our desired outcomes,” he said. “Oftentimes we make up our minds to do things, but never get it done simply because we did not set up the framework. Peaceology is different because it develops the capacity among people to affect change. Our goal is to develop a sustainable plan of action to improve our community as we see fit.”
In the forum, St. Jean urged residents to understand issues of racism and other ills as a common enemy that exists above the community, and must be tackled with unity and intention. 
Flossmoor resident Cari Anderson said this approach makes natural sense to her, as it is a strategy that she employs in her work. 
“When I sit down with families dealing with substance abuse, and the children are feeling guilt for being angry at their parents, I tell them to be angry at the disease, not the person,” Anderson said. “We have to do the same thing with issues of race. We have to think of white supremacy as the system that hurts us all, rather than blaming individual people. This way, we can have a productive dialogue without feelings of guilt.” 
During the forum, St. Jean prompted residents to examine what issues brought them to the meeting. And question why those issues were not worse off than they presently appeared. 
The Rev. Andrea Denny, member of a “trans-racial and queer family,” said her family moved to the H-F community with intention. She maintains her vision of all that a diverse community has to offer. 
“My wife and I are raising three African American children,” she said. “We were looking at homes in a community in Orland Park where our kids would have been the only black people. Having two white moms, and being African American, the last thing we wanted for our children was for them to live in a community where no one looked like them. So, we chose Flossmoor. We didn’t have to move here; this is where we wanted to raise our children.”

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