In a world that often seems tumultuous and fast-paced, the search for moments of peace and tranquility becomes an essential part of our daily lives. Can a simple café tucked away in the bustling streets of Brooklyn offer a respite from the chaos? The answer is yes, and it goes by the name “Peace Cafe,” a newly opened gem at 23 Marcus Garvey Blvd.
Peace Cafe, a modest yet inviting establishment, is driven by a noble mission – to build peace one cup of coffee at a time. Located at 23 Marcus Garvey Blvd, this cafe’s doors are open to patrons seeking a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. With a mantra that encapsulates the essence of peacebuilding, this café promises more than just a caffeine fix; it offers a sanctuary for fostering personal growth, social cohesion, and harmony.
At the heart of Peace Cafe’s ethos lies the concept of peacebuilding. Peacebuilding, as defined by the Brooklyn Peace Center, is the development of constructive relationships across diverse identities and the resolution of injustices through nonviolent means. It aims to transform the conditions that breed conflict and strife, bridging gaps across ethnic, racial, and religious lines.
Before we delve into the offerings of Peace Cafe, it’s essential to acknowledge the land on which it stands. According to the Cafe, it is situated in Lenapehoking, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Lenape people. Specifically, it rests on Canarsie (Canarsee) Land, once home to the Brooklyn tribe of the Lenape People. Recognizing this history is a testament to Peace Cafe’s commitment to dismantling the legacies of settler colonialism and white supremacy.
While Peace Cafe may appear to be a simple cafe, it is also an extension of the Brooklyn Peace Center, a 501(c)(3) community organization dedicated to peacebuilding and conflict transformation in Brooklyn and beyond. The café serves as a tangible manifestation of their mission, providing a platform for engagement and equipping community members, activists, artists, clergy, clinicians, and anyone interested in peacebuilding.
Peace Cafe is more than a standalone entity; it’s part of a collaborative network. The Brooklyn Peace Center serves as an umbrella organization for agencies that share a common goal: promoting peace and providing essential services to the community. Partners like the New York Mennonite Immigration Program, Radical Living Youth Program, Believers Mennonite Garifuna Ministries, and Peace Café & Thrift Store work together to create a harmonious and supportive environment.
Now, let’s explore what awaits you at Peace Cafe. This welcoming establishment offers a range of beverages, from comforting hot coffees to refreshing cold brews. Their selection of donuts and pastries pairs perfectly with your drink of choice. What makes Peace Cafe truly special is its commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, ensuring that every sip and bite carries a piece of Brooklyn’s essence.
As you step inside Peace Cafe, you’ll find a tranquil atmosphere that beckons you to unwind. Simple and tasteful, the café is adorned with flowers and features bistro tables for a cozy dining experience. While the seating is limited, it’s designed to encourage meaningful conversations and connections.
Peace Cafe isn’t just a place to enjoy a cup of coffee; it’s a hub of activity aimed at fostering peace and understanding in the community. The café hosts a variety of events, classes, and workshops, all geared towards personal growth and building stronger, more harmonious relationships. One such initiative is “Teaching Peace,” an online series available on all podcast platforms and YouTube. Addie Banks and Jason Storbakken, cohosts of the show, engage with educators, scholars, theologians, and community organizers to explore different pedagogies of peacebuilding.
One of the workshops offered at Peace Cafe is the “Wounded Healer: Trauma Aware Spiritual Care.” This two-hour workshop introduces participants to key concepts related to trauma awareness, resilience-building, and spiritual practices. It integrates neuroscience, models of nonviolent conflict transformation, and contemplative spirituality, offering valuable tools for clergy, clinicians, and community workers to develop a trauma-informed approach to spiritual care.
Beyond coffee and workshops, Peace Cafe is also deeply committed to community service. One of its founding partners, the New York Mennonite Immigration Program, provides essential services to the community. They assist with naturalization, family petitions, green card renewals, and more. Additionally, they offer know-your-rights education, trauma care, and personal and family care referrals, addressing critical needs within the community.
In the midst of Brooklyn’s vibrant urban landscape, Peace Cafe stands as a testament to the power of peacebuilding and community. It offers not just a place to grab a coffee but a space where individuals can come together, learn, and grow. As we navigate the complexities of our modern world, places like Peace Cafe serve as beacons of hope and harmony, reminding us that even in the busiest of cities, we can find moments of peace, one cup at a time.
Author: Alessandro De Luca