Peace bubbles

Doing the best we can this season

“I believe that one of the most important things to learn in life is that you can make a difference in your community no matter who you are or where you live.” Rosalynn Carter
“We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.” Stevie Wonder
“And it will be our love, not our hate, that heals the world.” Lauren Fortenberry
Hello Monitor readers,
I greet you in the spirit of the Season of Light, Joy, and Love, although, I admit that it might be feeling and looking like we are marinating in the energy of the Season of Darkness, Sadness, and Hate. We are ending 2023, the Year of the Rabbit, and we must find ways and learn lessons to shake off the terrible gloom and senseless acts of violence and wars, in order to leap into our 2024 Leap Year with the energy of Light, Joy, and Love. We must and we can rise with hope to the challenges of the new year. Maya Angelou’s lesson and model for us is “But still, like air, I’ll [We] rise.”
This month I ask a Legacy 7 teammate to offer a message of knowledge, empowerment, and insights. She gratefully surprised me with a timely expression of what was drumming from her heart and passion to share what we all need to know.
Dear Human Family, 
Our young people have a serious problem. 
In my community I like to talk to younger people and ask the questions like, “how do you know you are loved” or “do you like your teacher”? Whatever the introducing question, most young people end up letting me peek into their challenges. I hear scary stories centering around drugs, peer pressure, curiosity, self-medication and emotional distress.
At the intersection of substance use disorder young people are experiencing epidemics that we blame them for: gun violence, sex trafficking, suicide, incarceration and homelessness. With synthetic opioids impacting brain development, we can’t seem to educate or hand out Naloxone fast enough in this major public health crisis. 
 According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioids are substances that act on the nervous system to relieve pain, but they also produce a sense of euphoria. Language can be a barrier to information, young people call these opioids by other names like blues, percs, 10’s n 30’s, and these illicit or street drugs are commonly known to be laced with lethal doses of fentanyl or carfentanyl.
 The use of opioids during critical stages of brain development can have long-lasting effects on cognitive functions, impairing memory, decision-making abilities, and overall academic performance.
My way of facing this epidemic is to involve and support young people where they are and use harm reduction. First and foremost, creating a space where they can operate their power and have their voices heard. Secondly, letting them understand addiction operates in the physiology of the body not necessarily the personality. Thirdly, raising awareness about the risks and consequences of opioid misuse and teaching coping mechanisms for managing stress and emotional health is essential. I’ve been delivering this information at park boards, after-school programs, community centers and with community partners who serve young peopl – With four young people guiding my steps and leading the charge. 
 Access to effective treatment is crucial for those already battling with opioid addiction. Increasing the availability of medical and behavioral therapies, such as acupuncture, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), counseling, and support groups, can make a significant impact. Healthcare professionals and counselors should actively engage with young patients, providing them with tailored treatment plans that address their unique needs and circumstances.
Moreover, destigmatizing addiction can encourage more young people to seek help without fear of judgment or punishment. Adults, can we be responsibility partners with youth in order to raise awareness, improving access to treatment, and fostering a supportive community in order to combat this crisis?
 For young people to have any chance for a brighter future, they need our compassion and understanding along with education and resources. Let’s be their village. 
 If you are interested in having an overdose prevention training. contact Princess Titus at 612-707-1123. 
Thank you, Princess for being present with our young people in a caring and loving way.
It is often challenging to look on the bright side of life, particularly, when we see, hear, and know that injustice is happening locally and globally. Sometimes, we have to ask ourself tough questions and then ask others. For instance, Winona LaDuke challenges us with the simple request: “Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn’t make a corporation a terrorist.”
Sending you all Good Cheerful Holiday Thoughts and Great Optimistic Thoughts for a Fantastic Leap of Faith-ing New Year of doing your best like a hummingbird.
The story of the hummingbird is about this huge forest being consumed by a fire. All the animals in the forest come out and they are transfixed as they watch the forest burning and they feel very overwhelmed, very powerless, except this little hummingbird. 
It says, “I’m going to do something about the fire!”
So, it flies to the nearest stream and takes a drop of water. It puts it on the fire, and goes up and down, up and down, up and down, as fast as it can. In the meantime, all the other animals, much bigger animals – like the elephant with a big trunk that could bring much more water – they are standing there helpless. And they are saying to the hummingbird, “What do you think you can do? You are too little. This fire is too big. Your wings are too little and your beak is so small that you can only bring a small drop of water at a time.”
But as they continue to discourage it, it turns to them without wasting any time and it tells them “I am doing the best I can.” As told by Mother Wangari Maathai
May Peace Be In the Rondo, Frogtown, Hamline/Midway, Como, and Surrounding Communities... May Peace Be In Our Homes & Communities… May Peace Prevail On Earth (MPPOE)!


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