The Li-k'ei Project
- Project #
- St. Olaf College
- Nicholas Kang
- Daniel Murphy
“Li-k’ei” means “peace” in the Tlingit native language, and this project’s goal was to advance peace, conflict resolution, and understanding between young people in the racially and socially segregated community of Merritt in British Columbia, Canada. Building on an earlier project that Nicholas Kang began in the community, the project’s objectives included renovating a space and developing programs for a local Teen Center, and reaching out to the young people in the First Nations community and engaging with them and other community members through a Youth Council.
The Teen Center was opened early in the summer, with programming developed by a committee of teenagers representing all voices in the community. Up to 50 young people between 12 and 19 years old frequented the center each day for workshops, meetings, and recreation. After the summer, a local nonprofit will assume the day-to-day management of the center.
The Merritt Youth Council is the first of its kind in the area. After a thorough application process, 10 young people were organized into a racially diverse group that met weekly to discuss issues of importance to youth in and around Merritt, and to learn the skills necessary for presenting issues to the greater community and governing bodies. The Youth Council meets with the Merritt City Council, and has not only won support from the mayor, but also one city councilor has agreed to continue to work with the Youth Council in an advisory capacity.