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Hamline U. Joins Circle of Peace with “What Would Justice Look Like?”  [3/07/2017]
Students of Hamline University please join us on Wednesday, March 15th from 5:30 – 9pm at Hamline University to discuss “What Would Justice Look Like”. To register please visit:

Twin Cities on a Search for Racial Justice  [11/07/2016]
Russel Balenger is one of fifteen voices featured in a series produced by The Takeaway portraying voters preceding the November election.

Four young African American men spent a weekend in the nation’s capital with St. Paul officers and Circle of Peace leaders visiting the newly opened Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.  For all concerned, the trip was a chance to understand the roots of modern day racial tensions and conflicts that seem to surface daily between the police and people of color.

300th Circle – TCOPM Celebrates its 300th Circle!  [07/25/2016]


TCOPM celebrated its 300th circle meeting on July 25th, 2016. More than 140 people gathered at Unity Church-Unitarian in Saint Paul, MN to celebrate and reflect, listen and share, end violence and promote unity. The large numbers in attendance and the wide range of voices exemplified the diversity and reach of TCOPM. Attendees included local community and church members, 20 members of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), current and former Saint Paul Chiefs of Police, current police recruits, and many others who have found voice in the circle in the last six years.

AccessAbility Grant  [Summer 2016]

TCOPM is proud to announce a partnership with AccessAbility, Inc. beginning in Summer, 2016. As part of AccessAbility, Inc.’s Career and Educational Pathways program, TCOPM founder Russel Balenger will work to recruit, train and supervise one on one mentors for formerly incarcerated people in transition. When asked about the partnership, Balenger had this to say:

“I’m excited about this partnership because part of our mission is to stop violence and promote racial healing. I think a hand up from the community is a way to bring people back in. A one on one relationship with a mentor is a way to model community engagement for the mentees in transition.”

For more information, or if you are interested in serving as a mentor, please contact: friends at tcopm(dot)org, or send us a message via our online contact form.

“Russ and Sarah, the city is a better place for your efforts to create a place where everyone is welcome to talk about difficult, challenging, and relevant social issues.”    – Saint Paul Police Chief Tom Smith

On May 2, 2016, during a weekly community circle, Saint Paul Police Chief Tom Smith presented the Chief’s Award to Russel and Sarah Balenger. Chief Smith presented the award on behalf of the Saint Paul Police Department in recognition for Russel and Sarah’s work in lowering violence through The Circle of Peace Movement. The award specifically recognized The Circle of Peace Movement founders for their role in developing the Community Circle that meets weekly in the Rondo neighborhood which provided a safe place to have community conversations about how to end violence and address racial equity issues.

Minnesota Public Radio tells the story of Cody Nelson and how The Circle of Peace Movement helped Cody find a new path to his future.

On April 28, 2015, The St. Paul Foundation presented to The Circle of Peace Movement a 2015 Facing Race Ambassador Honorable Mention Award. The Facing Race Ambassador Awards honors the racial equity work of anti-racism activists in Minnesota.  The award recognized the work of Russel and Sarah Balenger, founders of The Circle of Peace Movement, in lowering violence in the Rondo neighborhood in Saint Paul by bringing together community members, including police, to have safe conversations.