Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice Took the Conversation of Conflict Resolution to the Next Level

By Kenyatta Skyles Whether one is a social justice activist or trying to enact change in their place of employment, conflict resolution is at the core of this work.  While […]

June 18, 2020 // EYEJ // No Comments //

By Kenyatta Skyles

Whether one is a social justice activist or trying to enact change in their place of employment, conflict resolution is at the core of this work.  While many people are aware of the concept, how many people can do this effectively? And if we are challenged with resolving issues as adults, how do you think young people can do so effectively?  Building upon the programming of the Youth Online Discussing Justice (YODJ) program, the June 11th EYEJ Speaks discussion addressed these dynamics and more related to conflict resolution.

Moderated by EYEJ Board Member Leen Ajlouni, the discussion entailed a robust lineup including: Emmanuel Williams, Senior at Neo Prep, Representative on Merrick House Tremont Youth Council; Katie Ross, Program Director, EYEJ; Edward G. Young III, Founder of E3Motivates, Tedx + Keynote Speaker; and Tyler Olsen, Founding Partner, (re)Frame Conflict. Below are some of the program highlights:





In addition to the concepts of emotional intelligence, the ego, and effective communication skills, three key takeaways include:

  1. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes before drowning them out with your point of view. Try to see things from their perspective and try to have a common goal.
  2. Conflict makes you stronger. Failure in life is inevitable, but if you can learn from past mistakes dealing with disputes, when the next one arises, you have a better comprehension of what do say and how to react to the situation.   With each battle are key takeaways that can be transformative in future challenges.
  3. An alternative to conflict resolution is Conflict Transformation, or the process of engaging and transforming relationships, discourse, and ultimately changing the systems we’re apart of through escalation.  This tool, evident in the non-violent protest across the country, concentrates on the underlying condition, which led to the conflict — the people or systems —  to highlight the injustices but also to transform perceptions of the issues, leading to systemic change. 

In closing, panelist Katie Ross summarized the discussion best “…..it is important to understand that conflict looks different to everyone, but there are substantial common steps that can be taken to come to a resolution.”  Katie went on to say, “Experiencing some conflict can be healthy and allows growth, but individuals must have boundaries around conflict, and the tools and resources to constructively address conflict.”

EYEJ Speaks, was established out of the organization’s need to bring its youth social justice conversations to civic leaders, educators, youth, families, and nonprofit professionals.  The hope is this conversation brings about action to empower youth and the adults who play an essential role in their lives.  Change doesn’t happen overnight, but bringing together the right people to the table can, in part, enact some of the changes we want to see.

To view the episode of EYEJ Speaks on Conflict Resolution, visit our Facebook page. Exploring Money is the next episode of the Facebook Live discussion series taking place on Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 10 am EST. Please be sure to register to be part of this community conversation.

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