In early 2016, through the kindness of a generous donor, Join Hands was able to lease space in the Orr Weathers public housing complex in East St. Louis, enabling Join Hands to open the Ubuntu Center for Peace. The space was furnished entirely with donations.
Recognizing the harsh reality of life in poverty, the sometimes ugly reality of the violent and unjust world we live in, and based in the core belief that it needn’t be this way, the Ubuntu Center for Peace is a place where people can come, to join hands and support each other, to be a spark for kindness and compassion in the world, in the spirit of Ubuntu. Situated in one of the public housing developments of East St. Louis, it is our goal to show love and compassion in accordance with the mission of Join Hands, to spread Ubuntu, and to join a movement of kindness and compassion in a world so desperately in need.
The Ubuntu Center for Peace is home to Join Hands ESL, its administrative offices and programs. It is an ecumenical center where people of all faiths can come and find peace, hope and friendship. With a focus on both personal peace and communal/world peace, as staffing and volunteer power allows, we will offer retreat days to inspire and renew, workshops and classes in nonviolence, and support groups, as well as programming and mentoring for youth and families. We will offer yoga and teach children and adults who are interested meditation as a means of stress reduction and centering. We have a safe place, a peace chapel, holy ground, set aside, available for those times when silence and peace is needed in the midst of the chaos and violence of the world. And knowing that without justice, true peace is impossible, as resources and staffing allow, we will offer legal services, community organizing and advocacy on issues impacting our community.
The Ubuntu Center is an oasis in the midst of an often-violent area, a place of peace, love and hospitality. Coffee is on every morning at 9:30 and people are welcome to come and sit and have a bite to eat.