PEACE ALLIANCE ACTION TEAMS:
The following material are actions that teams across the nation are collaboratively taking. We would love you all to join us where applicable.
Here are some quick actions on key issues we support that you can take anytime. click here.
September 2013 Op-ed Action:
- Sept 2013 Action Sheet: Op-Ed Action Instructions
- Op-Ed Template (NOTE: Op-Ed actions require nationwide coordination – contact Dan if you have interest before submitting!)
- Tips on Placing an Op-Ed
Full Audio from Sept. Action Team Activation call:
Audio of Op-Ed training portion only:
Read the Tips document above before submitting your own.
What about Honoring our Own Local
Nobel-Worthy Peace Laureates?
This year, on October 11th, the Norwegian Nobel committee will announce the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The announcement will either be ignored or will be greeted with celebration, surprise, or as is sometimes the case, derision. Global peacemakers certainly deserve at least as much recognition as those whose achievements in film, music, theater, and sports who often receive the bulk of our attention.
But isn’t it time we also celebrated and supported those in our own communities who are working on the front lines for peace? In big and small ways, many thousands are working heroically in our own cities to help ameliorate violence. These “peacebuilders” include: teachers who bring conflict resolution education into classrooms; those working to mitigate gang violence or to help those in prison turn their lives around; and those working in the burgeoning Restorative Justice movement to bring healing to both victims and perpetrators of crime. And these are just a few examples.
While there are many peacebuilding champions at work, [you may insert a phrase like this “such as (name of a local peacebuilder) with (name of their organization) and (name of a local peacebuilder) with (name of their organization)], there are too few to meet the immense challenges we face. Violence and crime are epidemic in our culture. We have some of the highest rates of homicide in the world and our youth are some of the hardest hit. Youth homicide and suicide rates in the U.S. are more than 10 times that of any other industrialized nation.
Yet, the punitive methods we tend to use are not making the changes we need. In fact, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States has nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. This is hardly a badge of honor. Our tough on crime laws have created both a national industry of non-rehabilitative privatized prisons, and a culture of repeat offenders who all too often aren’t able to break-out of their criminal or violent patterns.
There are more effective and humane ways to make a positive difference, especially with our youth. We can start by acknowledging and supporting our local peacebuilders. The work they do is providing a lifeline that not only saves lives, but also saves money.
A study by the non-partisan Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that for every dollar spent on county juvenile detention systems, $1.98 of “benefits” was achieved in terms of reduced crime and the cost of crime to taxpayers. By contrast, mentoring programs produced $3.36 of benefits for every dollar spent, while deeper interventions such as multi-systemic therapy, an intensive family and community-based treatment program that focuses on addressing all environmental systems that impact chronic and violent juvenile offenders, produced $13 of benefits, for every dollar spent.
That kind of efficiency is one reason the Youth PROMISE Act, currently before the U.S. House (HR 1318) and Senate (S 1307) is earning bi-partisan support, including support from Bay Area Members of Congress Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Mike Honda [replace Reps. Lee and Honda with the names of any local co-sponsors or just skip from “is earning bipartisan support” to this final phrase] and endorsements from over 300 organizations and state and local governing bodies. [if your local Members of Congress aren’t co-sponsors, you can list them as well with something like: “Senators _________ and __________, as well as Rep. _________ have yet to sign on, but hopefully will soon.”]
The Youth PROMISE Act will go a long way in giving our communities the support and funding they need to effectively address youth violence. By specifically focusing on proven violence prevention strategies, this bill ensures we are funding programs that save lives and money and giving every young person the opportunity to meet his or her fullest potential.
Wouldn’t it be an enormous achievement to have even more peacebuilders working in our communities, peacebuilders who might one day become Nobel Peace Laureates themselves? Let’s give them the chance, by expanding their ranks and by making smarter investments that focus more on prevention and restorative practices
At this time of year, when the Nobel Peace laureates are celebrated, let’s expand the focus to include embedding the practices of peace even more solidly here at home and developing a culture that celebrates our local peacebuilders.
Describe yourself in one or two short sentences. Include that you are a volunteer with The Peace Alliance www.peacealliance.org