"Influence" Peace


Girls at Irma Rangel Leadership School "Influence Peace". Today Marks the Beginning Special Project.

Dallas, TX – Everyday the choices we make are influenced by graphic images that bombard us, from TV and the Internet to billboards and movie posters – most prevalent being images of violence.  According to the A.C.  Nielson Co., 79 percent of Americans believe violence in the media helps to influence real life mayhem.  To counteract this trend Today Marks the Beginning (TMtB), a non-profit arts organization that uses art to impact public awareness of social issues, has collaborated with the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School to teach a special project based lesson called "INFLUENCE.”  The young women at Irma Rangel are learning how to influence others to make peaceful actions and choices by traveling throughout Dallas to persuade businesses, libraries, churches, etc. to display their poster art which represents peace and conflict resolution.  The pictures of the artwork displayed in the Dallas area are then posted on the MasterPEACE INFLUENCE blog.


“INFLUENCE” is one of the 14 lessons derived from TMtB’s MasterPEACE program, a project based, hands-on curriculum which teaches students to use personal, creative expression to solve problems related to peace and conflict resolution.  The main component of “INFLUENCE” lesson is spreading the message and vision of peace, Karen Blessen, creator of MasterPEACE, said.  Blessen said she was excited to teach “Influence” lesson at Irma Rangel because of their mission of teaching young women to become leaders within the Dallas community.


“Leaders have a vision as well as power to influence people around them,” Blessen said.  “The young women at Irma Rangel are leaders taking a stand against violence by stating their vision of kindness and peaceful actions to the public by going to local businesses, churches, etc.  to persuade them to hang their peace artwork - influencing others to practice conflict resolution.”


The “INFLUENCE” lesson has four parts which include:


Part 1. IDENTIFY INFLUENTIALS IN OUR LIVES – TMtB conducted an assembly for the 225 girls at Irma Rangel, in which they were asked to identify and consider all the graphic images that influence our actions and beliefs.


Part 2. CREATE INFLUENCE POSTER – The girls created a poster which included a different kind of “influence” - one that would influence the viewer to have an awareness of the possibility of kinder, more peaceful actions and choices. 


Part 3. TAKE IT TO THE STREETS – TMtB challenged the girls to take their art to the streets of Dallas in order to find homes for their art in local businesses, libraries, churches, shops, etc.   TMtB furnished the girls with a script - and a script if the proprietor said no. 


Part 4. POST TO MasterPEACE INFLUENCE BLOG – The girls were asked to take pictures of their displayed art and send them to TMtB.  The pictures are then posted on the MasterPEACE INFLUENCE interactive blog which includes photos of the posters, a map that shows the location of all of the art displayed throughout Dallas and areas for comments. 


“Our society needs to take a stand and spread the message of peace and conflict resolution in order to counteract all of the violent influences that surrounds us,” Blessen said.  “TMtB and the young women of Irma Rangel will continue to spread the ‘INFLUENCE’ lesson message, and we hope that others throughout the Dallas community will help and join our cause.”


For more information on the “INFLUENCE” lesson or if you would like to donate visit www.todaymarksthebeginning.org.  To view the artwork created by the young women from Irma Rangel go to http://masterpeaceinfluence.blogspot.com.


About Today Marks the Beginning

Today Marks the Beginning, created in 2005, is a non-profit organization full of creative individuals who use art to bring public awareness of important social issues through a diverse range of projects. The organization strongly believes that art is a powerful vehicle for promoting issues of peace and social justice.  Their work is guided by artistic expression, open dialogue, and creative solutions tied to a social purpose. 


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