Monday, February 23, 2009

Peacemaking in the Inner City

The Baltimore Sun on 2/15/09 had a front page article titled "Peacemaker" (by Justin Fenton). It was about a seasoned, ex-gang member who is talking to inner city youth to tell them about his experiences, explain what he would have done differently, and encouraging them to make life-affirming choices.

The story contains a lot of good information about what works and what doesn't work when trying to discuss this topic with desperate young men and women who feel they have few choices. Street credibility is a big plus, as is maintaining obvious distance from police and political influence. This is the sort of thing a U.S. Department of Peace would help research and fund to take full advantage of the humanitarian spirit that people like "Black" (Tony Wilson) bring to our troubled communities.

The story also mentions Devon Scarborough, who wants to stay out of street/drug life and contribute society, but he's having difficulty finding anyone to listen to his business plan and provide funding to get him started. We need government and/or NGO services to help people like Mr. Scarborough get going in the right direction. The return on investment would be priceless.

What can you do to help make this type of story more of a commonplace event and less of an anomaly?

  1. Write to your Representative and Senators and ask them to co-sponsor HR 808 to create a US Department of Peace. Check out The Peace Alliance for more information and tools for contacting elected officials.
  2. Talk with your local city council about enacting a resolution supporting HR 808 and the creation of a US Department of Peace. The Peace Alliance also has tools and templates to help with this.
  3. Join a local group to start lobbying your Representative to co-sponsor HR 808.


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