Community: Calvert County, Maryland
Partner: Broadview Church
Status: Project Announced June 2021
Subject Areas of Focus: Environmental Degradation, Incivility, LGBTQIA Equity, Racism
Practical Peaceful Solutions: Civic Engagement, Cooperative Volunteering, Dialogue Groups, Social and Emotional Skills Development, Public Policy Advocacy, Youth Development
Calvert County in southern Maryland continues to evolve from an area once primarily rural in character. Prior to white flight migration from urban cities, which began in the late 1960s, the African American population comprised nearly 50 percent of the county’s then-15,000 residents. As the county grew to its current population of roughly 90,000, African Americans found themselves quickly marginalized with the percentage of the population falling below 12 percent. 38,000 residents commute out of the county each day – primarily to the Washington, DC area.
These demographic and cultural shifts have not been without consequence. Tensions between subgroups of the population, such as longer-term and newer residents, have surfaced and are felt. Certainly not to be overlooked are the inequities experienced by the county’s African American residents and which can be traced back to the county’s participation in slavery, but also to the attitudes of White residents who have moved into the county from suburban areas.
In 2015 leaders of several churches and community organizations concluded that time had arrived to address squarely the deep hurts and divisions of too many Calvert County residents. These community leaders determined they could accomplish more together. So, they started #OurCommonCalvert.
#OurCommonCalvert brought Calvert community members together for learning, dialogue, and organizing action. Among its points of pride are the initiative’s youth development activities and its substantive support to southern Maryland’s annual LGBTQ+ celebrations.
One of #OurCommonCalvert’s leading member organizations, Broadview Church, sought to continue and expand this community-building work. They invited Peace Through Action USA to join them in organizing and delivering the Calvert County Peace Project.
Broadview and Peace Through Action will hold events, workshops, and volunteering activities with the goal of preparing and activating county residents, workers, and visitors for roles as engaged policy influencers, skilled peace builders, and committed servants. The project has civic engagement, peacebuilding and volunteering components for youth and adults.
Peace Through Action has hired a peace agent who will manage this project by planning programs, activities, and events, promoting the project, and identifying individuals and entities who would be interested in participating in activities or serving on the advisory group.
- Organize and deliver youth development program, with a continuing focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Arrange civic dialogues for youth and adults to examine issues of concern nationally and to county residents.
- Introduce youth and adults to peaceful practices.
- Offer opportunities for community members to volunteer together to improve their community and meet social and environmental needs.
- Book group, film discussions, and speakers on peace and justice topics.
Project Target Impacts
Peace Through Action USA will measure impact of the Calvert County Peace Project by tracking and reporting the following:
- Number and types of youth leadership development, civic dialogue, and volunteering events held
- Number of attendees at project events
- Changes in community member knowledge, attitudes, skills, or practices about peacebuilding
What You Can Do to Support the Calvert County, Peace Project
- Engage with the project and track our accomplishments and activities in Calvert County and elsewhere by subscribing to our e-news (http://bit.ly/peacactsignup).
- Give money to support the project online (http://bit.ly/peacegivecalvert), by texting “Give” to 202-410-0372, or by mailing a check to Peace Through Action USA, PO Box 73466, Washington DC 20056-3466.
- Volunteer your talent and time toward the project by sending a message to calvert @ peacethroughaction.org.
- Uplift the spirits of people working toward peace in Calvert through prayer, meditation, and healing (http://bit.ly/peaceactuplift).