Talking Peace: Former Ambassador & Gang Member

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(Ambassador Edward J. Perkins).

Headlines scream about the violence in our streets. Whether it's turf wars in America, conflicts plaguing Africa, struggles in the Middle East or other battles around the world, solutions seem out of reach.

“Conversation Peace,� a groundbreaking meeting of the minds between Edward J. Perkins, the first Black U.S. ambassador to South Africa, reformed Blood Dashaun “Jiwe� Morris and actor Jamie Hector, star of the HBO hit series The Wire, marked the United Nations International Day of Peace, on Thursday, September 21, 2006.

The dynamic discussion of ideas, held at The Riverside Church, was to help attendees understand the pain that triggers violence, and be inspired by the passion of peacemakers from different worlds.

The opportunity allowed congregants to gain insight into the thinking of a reformed gang member, now dedicated to making peace both in his own life and in America, while getting to know an international prince of peace, tirelessly committed to establishing harmony on a global scale. The event was sponsored by The Stay Strong Foundation, The Riverside Church and University of Oklahoma Press. The event also served as a peace vigil.

Perkins is author of “Mr. Ambassador: Warrior for Peace,� University of Oklahoma Press, 2006); appointed the first Black United States ambassador to South Africa by President Ronald Reagan with the unparalleled assignment: dismantle apartheid without violence.

Dashaun “Jiwe� Morris, now dedicated to creating peace, is also author of the upcoming memoir “War of the Bloods in My Veins.� Other participants included Terrie M. Williams, an inspirational author and founder of the Stay Strong Foundation, and Ilyasah Shabazz, author of Growing Up X.

Conversation Peace, the groundbreaking discussion on creating peace—everywhere, was held at the Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue, between 120th and 122nd Streets, in Manhattan. In addition to Stay Strong Foundation, The Riverside Church and University of Oklahoma Press were also sponsors.

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