April 20th is the seventeenth anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
In October, 1998, Diana Wege and Elizabeth Howard founded a nonprofit organization in New Canaan, Connecticut, designed to bring conflict resolution and sensitivity training around the issues of violence to schools in Connecticut. While they initially granted meetings with those handling education in the State, their work was not taken seriously. Until Columbine. Then, they were asked to convene a conference in the State that included Senator Lieberman. They were successful in introducing conflict resolution training programs in schools across Connecticut.
There are many issues that are involved in a shooting: mental health, guns, anger, alienation, bullying, to name a few. It is critical that we continue to increase awareness that all of us have many options to solve problems. We need to continue to reach troubled people who might choose violence as one of their options. It is our belief that if more people realize they have effective options to end their inner turmoil, they will reject violence.
In 2013, Wege founded WOVEN, a nonprofit organization that is striving to end violence across the globe within the next three decades. WOVEN is the aggregate of individuals, communities and institutions who choose peaceful resolutions to conflicted situations; supporters refuse to accept violence as an inevitable, incurable norm. The organization is neutral and works collaboratively to organize and provide the resources, support and appropriate platform to achieve the goal of peace.
To encourage everyone to do something on April 20th to strengthen a culture that rejects violence, WOVEN has made a donation of plants and tools to the Columbine Memorial in Littleton, Colorado. The leadership team of WOVEN encourages everyone to review the list of resources on the website and to make a contribution or a pledge to work with one or more of the organizations endorsed by WOVEN.