Courtesy of City of Akron
The Akron PeaceMakers have been selected as the recipient of America Society for Public Administration’s National Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Exemplary Practices Award for their collaborative campaign involving the distribution of “You and the Law” palm cards throughout Akron’s public and private middle and high schools.
The “You and the Law” palm cards, created by the PeaceMakers and the Akron Police Department, provide basic instructions and information to people on how to properly respond if approached or stopped by a police officer, and distribution is a collaborative effort by the Akron PeaceMakers, the Akron Police Department, and the Akron Public Schools.
The Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Exemplary Practices Award is presented to individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to a more equal society. Awardees represent federal, state or local government units, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations or private sector institutions. The criteria of the award includes:
- Complexity of the problems addressed and organizations directed
- Severity of the problems addressed
- Use of original/innovative/effective approaches
- Impact of contributions
- Contributions to the attainment of the goals of ASPA’s EO/AA national policy positions
The Akron PeaceMakers, Mayor Don Plusquellic’s civic anti-crime, anti-violence youth group, consists of around 60 active diverse high school students. The program has graduated 275 students, with around 30 returning to continue their service with the PeaceMakers.
Billy Soule, Assistant to the Mayor for Community Relations who serves as the group’s advisor, and Willa Keith, retired Akron police sergeant, who serves as their liaison and coordinator, work with the PeaceMakers to perform hundreds of hours of community service, discuss timely and sometimes difficult issues facing the teens and the community, and problem-solve.
“I am very excited for our Akron Peacemakers,” Soule sys. “They saw an issue that was at the forefront of every community in the country, and instead of just talking about what they could do to help, they acted. They contacted the Akron Police Department and wanted to make sure, at least in Akron, Ohio, that people knew what to do when approached by a police officer.
“Our PeaceMakers work so hard on so many worthwhile projects, that I am happy that they are getting the recognition they deserve on this particular undertaking.”
Soule, along with around 20 Peacemakers, traveled to Chicago to accept the award on March 8, during the Gloria Hobson Nordin Social Equity Luncheon.