Monday, Jul. 22, 2019

CA Peace Alliance Builds Peace Into the CA Democratic Party 2016 Platform

By Nancy Merritt · May 04, 2016

The journey of the CA Peace Alliance/ Department of Peacebuilding Campaign to build peace in the 2016 CA Democratic Party (CDP) Platform – plank by plank – began in 2011 when we drafted language for the CDP 2012 Platform.  It continued with submissions to the CDP 2014 Platform.  Our 2016 advocacy included working to preserve earlier peacebuilding language and to expand upon that.  To do this we looked at every plank and submitted/resubmitted language for almost half of the planks.  In particular, we focused upon restorative justice in the criminal justice arena and restorative practices in schools and families. 

 The CDP incorporated into its 2016 Platform CA Peace Alliance language or adapted language in approximately half of the Platform planks (in 10 of 21 planks), including: Business and Economy; Children, Young Adults, and Their Families; Criminal Justice; Education; Energy and Environment/ Energy; Energy and Environment/ Agriculture and Food Safety; National Security; Seniors; Sustainable Communities; Veterans and Military Families; and, World Peace and International Relations.  

More specifically, the 2016 CDP Platform includes the following language and/or ideas submitted by the CA Peace Alliance.  (Unless indicated otherwise, all language below was submitted by the CA Peace Alliance): 

1.  Business and Economy

  • Promote and guarantee low-interest small business loans to provide the seed capital to launch and expand job-creating small businesses and provide for the growth of already successful businesses; (TPA 2012)
    • Support a uniform criteria for determining a "small business" and eliminate loopholes that allow large corporations to benefit from preferences intended for small businesses; (TPA 2016)
    • Target resources to the communities of interest who have been most impacted by the economic recession.  (TPA 2016)

2.  Children, Young Adults, and Their Families

  • Promote policies and support agencies that are responsible for providing mental health services, domestic violence prevention, gang prevention, anti-bullying programs, substance abuse prevention, parenting skills, and other social services that are critical to the health and well-being of children and families in need; (TPA 2012)
  • Ensure Child Protective Services and social workers have the resources needed to protect children and support foster youth; reunify families when possible and improve the foster care system to ensure that child abuse and neglect court proceedings that protect the welfare of children are accessible and swift, and aggressively enforce child-support payment rulings; and encourage foster youth to successfully complete high school; (TPA 2016 – underlined language a modification of our language)

3. Criminal Justice

  • Oppose using prisons and jails as de facto mental health facilities and fight to adequately fund community mental health and substance abuse programs; (TPA 2012)
  • Support the implementation of restorative justice that brings together people who have committed crimes, victims and community members in an effort to repair the damage caused by criminal activity through accountability and rehabilitation.  (TPA 2012)

4. Education

  • Provide instruction in social studies, mathematics, the sciences, literature, art, music, foreign languages, and physical education; (TPA 2012 – underlined language)
  • Support restorative policies and practices that eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline. End zero- tolerance policies that criminalize student behavior, and develop school discipline reforms that encourage counseling, education and positive behavior interventions; (Combines 2 TPA 2016 points)
  • Ensure a safe educational environment and school culture where students and staff do not feel threatened and are free from bullying and harassment, including racist and ethnic provocations. Provide training in tolerance, mediation, peaceful conflict resolution, and counseling. When incidents of racial or ethnic abuse occur, schools and universities should respond immediately and officially; (TPA 2012 + CDP added underlined language)

5.  Energy and Environment/ Energy

  • Provide research grants that encourages conservation, sustainability of natural resources, and development of green technologies in transportation and alternative energy production; (TPA 2012)
  • Develop comprehensive regional community conservation and sustainability plans to prevent depletion of natural resources. (TPA 2012) 

6. Energy and Environment/ Agriculture & Food Safety

  • Promote food safety, eat local movement, small family farms, urban gardens, healthy food alternatives, safe working conditions for farm workers, appropriate food labeling to include those foods containing GMO products, the humane treatment of animals in food production, and provide low interest loans for local farms that can produce fresh locally grown produce and provide local employment opportunities.  (TPA 2012) 

7. National Security

  • California Democrats believe that keeping the United States of America and Americans safe is of the utmost importance. Therefore, a strong national defense should include aspects that go beyond military might.  (TPA 2016 – underlined language is modification of our submission)
  • Honor obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty framework and set a long term policy to reduce and eventually eliminate weapons of mass destruction throughout the world; (Modification of TPA 2016 “and reduce nuclear weapons to the lowest possible levels.”)

8.  Seniors

  • Pre-seniors, ages 55 thru 65, have been among those hardest hit by recent economic downturns. Many in the Baby Boom generation have lost the ability to regain financial footing, including experiencing salary reductions, yet they don't qualify for the same benefits as their elders, such as low-income housing and Medicare. Forced retirement for those 55 and older results in the loss of much needed income, resulting in loss of future benefits and brings additional financial burden to the Social Security and Medicare systems.  (Underlined language is a modification of TPA 2016)
  • Fight to preserve and protect programs that serve low-income seniors such as: Adult Protective Services, Senior Community Employment, Multipurpose Senior Service Programs, Alzheimer's Day Care Resource Centers, Home Delivered Meals, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, California Senior Legal Hotline, renter's assistance, homeowner property tax discount assistance programs and property tax postponement; (Underlined language is TPA 2016 correction)

9.   Sustainable Communities

  • Create greenbelts around our urban areas, thereby reducing traffic gridlock, wildfires and erosion, and promoting efficient land use, and provide green spaces for all communities; (Underlined language is modification of TPA 2016)


  • Insist that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides comprehensive and timely, wrap-around health and mental healthcare to all veterans and their families, including those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which will decrease incidents of domestic violence and suicide; (Underlined is TPA 2012 language)

11. World Peace and International Relations

  • Actively promote the establishment of national institutions based on the organizing principles of violence prevention and non-violent conflict resolution, utilizing and developing a network of "best practice" peace building policies and programs, both within UN member states, and externally among nations; (TPA 2014)
    • Follow the Geneva and Hague Conventions. No torture. No extraordinary renditions. No exceptions;
    • Commit to the achievement of the UN Millennium Goals including eradication of extreme hunger and poverty, achievement of universal primary education, and promotion and empowerment of women. Work to enhance the UN and regional organizations; (Underlined language is TPA 2012 language)
    • Support the dignified treatment of refugees no matter their race, religion or country of origin. (Modification of TPA 2016 language which was originally submitted under Immigration plank)

See also the separate article entitled "CA Peace Alliance Accomplishments & Adventures at the 2016 CA Democratic Party Convention."


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