Urban Peace Squad Mission Statement:
Self-acceptance is a priority.
Let it be known, practicing mental health is the new normal.
Our soul knows the distinct difference between peace and pain.
We are introducing people to peace.
We are peeling layers and introducing people to who they are.
We are creating a universal language for love.
Any sect, denomination, politics, gender or race does not influence us.
No one is exempt from the pursuit of peace.
Everybody, everybody deserves peace.
In the past year, mental health and self-care have been at the forefront of discussions regarding surviving today’s world. Unexpected cases of breakdowns from Kanye West and Kid Cudi have sparked the flames of a more supportive environment for mental wellness, especially in Hip-Hop and urban culture. However, despite these verbal progressions, supporting actions are still too far and few in between in the community.
This is the reason why Urban Peace Squad is active today.
Urban Peace Squad is a donation based peace movement and initiative which provides a community to encourage self-discovery, self-acceptance, self-healing and growth. They accomplish this through live music, spoken word, yoga, meditation and open discussion workshops in under served urban communities. Their primary focus is to provide a space for trauma integrated atmospheres, and with this in mind, Urban Peace Squad has managed to touch many communities with their methods of serenity.
“I found a need for new ways of creating peace in my own community of Harlem, NY in August of 2015. Initially, I would visit project housing and practice [yoga] in the middle of the buildings. When people would ask about the postures, I would discuss the importance of finding peace anytime and anywhere.” – Bre Scullark, Founder of Urban Peace Squad.
Harlem, NY native and Founder of Urban Peace Squad, Bre Scullark, knows first hand what it’s like to not have a healthy space for peace. Bre’s initial career background is in the fashion industry– having a thriving career stemming from her appearance on America’s Next Top Model at the tender age of 19. Although life was comfortable, realistically her emotional integrity was being compromised. Between over working, being surrounded by negative influences and not facing some of her deepest battles, she was heading down a rough path.
Since February of 2016, Urban Peace Squad has managed to serve many different communities in the north east, including Bedstuy, Brooklyn, Norwalk, Connecticut, Atlanta, Georgia and her hometown, Harlem. The workshops utilize relatable tools to achieve tranquility: music–preferably trap music–open discussion, yoga and meditation. They have also opened the doors for dope local talent, like opera singers and poets. By doing this, Urban Peace Squad’s workshops have created a trusted and vulnerable space for people to not only share their life experiences openly, but to also connect with the community while trusting the process that comes with it.
Urban Peace Squad stays engaged with their community–also known as their “squad”–by releasing weekly motivational newsletters. These newsletters encourage, enlighten and share tips regarding how to achieve calm in the midst of chaos. They also drop a monthly playlist via Spotify and–most recently–Apple Music to maintain motivation and good energy.
“In 2014, I was invited to a motivational speech at Riker’s Island to speak to women who have been incarcerated. I connected with the energy that surrounded me while I was there. All these familiar emotions came up, the confusion, frustration, hopelessness and sadness of life. I have lived through all of them.” – Bre Scullark
More than community work, Urban Peace Squad has also found a need for peace in prisons, one of the most neglected communities in America. With this in mind, Bre decided to join forces and serve the prison community alongside Liberation Prison Yoga; A 501(c) non-profit, who also parents Urban Peace Squad, and offers yoga and relaxation in jails and prisons within New York state. The overall goal is to create a familiar environment of peaceful practice when they rejoin society.
Many of the students also seek the same practice they received while in prison upon release, as they wish to apply these techniques in everyday life. For this very reason, a safe space is in the works and will be created for them.
Urban Peace Squad has also served domestic violence shelters, and will host a recurring workshop in Westchester, New York this year.
In an effort to find other ways to encourage urban peace, Urban Peace Squad is throwing their first lounge event, A Night of Festivities: Henny & Green Tea. The event will be in Bedstuy, Brooklyn and will also include spoken word from local talent, music and a chance for the mic to open up to the floor. Urban Peace Squad will also be dropping a meditation mixtape this month.
And to add to the list of their up and coming gems, Bre’s documentary on her journey with Urban Peace Squad, A Girl Can Dream, will debut this year.
To donate and contribute to the movement, visit here.