Peace Camp teaches children how to identify bias and racism, how to handle it

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 5:51 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - For one week, 50 children in Cedar Rapids ranging from kindergarten through 5th grade, learned about identifying bias and racism and how to handle it. It’s called Peace Camp.

One of the people who wanted to be a part of it, Stephanie Griffin, spent the week teaching many kindergarteners and first graders a topic that might not always be covered in their normal classroom.

“All throughout the week they’ve learned words like being an advocate, or just keeping the peace, and how does that look like,” she said.

It was the first week of the first ever Peace Camp - A program founded by Donna Barnes who says she discovered the idea at a similar camp put on in North Carolina.

“When we wait to introduce or discuss racism with teenagers, we have lost time and opportunity. It’s the little children that we need to equip for the world that they live in,” said Barnes.

She says her goal is to open 5 more camps within the next five years in the surrounding area.

With the success of the first camp, Barnes says she is optimistic towards the lessons they could teach even more young people.

“The teachers regurgitate back exciting moments, when somebody that just got it and put their hand up, and those are the rewards that we work for,” said Barnes.

Teachers like Griffin, who says it’s important to teach these children these topics as soon as possible.

“There is a way that little ones can actually make a big difference,” said Griffin. “They’re the ones that are going to be our future. They are a sponge and they are going to make sure that it goes throughout.”

Copyright 2022 KCRG. All rights reserved.