By unanimous vote the San Francisco Board of Supervisors endorses legislation to establish a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence
San Francisco , CA. – San Francisco joined the Bay Area cities of Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto and San Jose yesterday when its Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution endorsing creation of a cabinet-level U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence. By doing so, this sixth-largest metropolitan area in the country (encompassing some 5.4 million residents) joined the ranks of 20 cities voicing support for HR 808, legislation that focuses on innovative and proactive approaches to violence prevention.
“We have to remind elected officials of all parties that peace is patriotic….” said HR 808 co-sponsor Rep. Barbara Lee after the bill was reintroduced in Congress on February 5 th. “If we had a Department of Peace, we’d be dealing in a real way with gun violence, and domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and all the awful violence that’s taking place because of the cutbacks of funding and disinvestment in the American people. In the words of the great warrior for peace Dr. Martin Luther King, peace is not just the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice. A Department of Peace would embody that ideal.”
According to the resolution, introduced by board member Michela Alioto-Pier, the city would benefit from a U.S Department of Peace in many ways, including “…development of conflict resolution and violence prevention initiatives…” and by funding already existing programs aimed at reducing crimes such as domestic violence, school shootings and gang violence.
Attending yesterday’s vote was Bay Area resident Judy Kimmel, Outreach and Development Director for The Peace Alliance, the citizen action organization spearheading the national campaign for a U.S. Department of Peace. “The Board of Supervisors’ vote endorsing creation of a U.S. Department of Peace was heartfelt and inspiring, and represents the final keystone uniting the entire Bay Area in a call for a federally-lead comprehensive, proactive and sophisticated approach to stopping violence in our community before it erupts.”
“We recently read in many major newspapers that violent crime in cities in surging,” said Dot Maver, Executive Director of The Peace Alliance. “For a tiny slice of our discretionary spending ($8 billion, or less than one percent of the U.S. budget), we can significantly reduce violence in our homes, in our schools, in our communities, our nation, and throughout the world. Cities around the country are recognizing the practical value of this legislation. People of every political persuasion want a U.S. Department of Peace and are willing to work for it.”
Domestically the department will research, propose and facilitate practical, field-tested solutions to reduce conflict, providing financial and institutional heft to strengthen and complement our current efforts to deal with all forms of domestic violence and discord. And it will help develop curricula to educate students in grades K-12 on how to resolve conflict peacefully through peer mediation, and training in alternative dispute resolution techniques and non-violent communication skills.
Internationally, a Department of Peace will advise the president and Congress on the most innovative techniques to establish and promote peace among nations, and will research and analyze the root causes of war to help prevent conflicts from escalating to the point of violence.
It will create a Peace Academy, on par with the Military Service Academies, to build a world-class faculty of peace-building experts, many of whom currently live in the United States. They will analyze peace-building at the highest level, advise other branches of government, and train civilian peacekeepers and the military for domestic and international service.
House Resolution 808 currently enjoys the support of 60 Congressional co-sponsors, including Rep. Susan A. Davis [CA-53-D, Rep. Sam Farr, [CA-17-D], Rep. Bob Filner, [CA-51-D], Rep. Michael M. Honda, [CA-15-D], Rep. Barbara Lee, [CA-9-D], Rep. George Miller, [CA-7-D], Rep. Brad Sherman, [CA-27-D], Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, [CA-10-D], Rep. Maxine Waters, [CA-35-D], Rep. Diane E. Watson, [CA-33-D], and Rep. Lynn C. Woolsey, [CA-6-D].
The Peace Alliance is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization spearheading the national campaign for a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence. For more information on this legislation and our campaign, please visit the Peace Alliance website at: www.thepeacealliance.org.
For more information about California for a Department of Peace, visit: www.afdop.org
The Peace Alliance