The CA Democratic Party (CDP) adopted a resolution encouraging establishment of a CA government entity devoted to peacebuilding and violence prevention. Following submission of the resolution by the CA Department of Peacebuilding Campaign (DoP) at the CDP’s Executive Board meeting in July 2018, the Party adopted the “Smart On Peacebuilding” resolution in November 2018.
The “Resolution to Encourage State Legislators to Establish a California Peacebuilding and Violence Prevention Government Entity” (CA State PBVP Entity) calls for State legislators to support and work for the creation of a permanent office, agency, or department within the State government devoted to peacebuilding and violence prevention, including policies and programs that analyze, educate, support, and promote effective solutions to end violence, in all its forms, and that such policies and programs shall be available to citizens, local governments, institutions and organizations.
The CA State PBVP Resolution grew out of work by Del Martin, the mother of current DoP Advocate Kendra Mon. In 1976, Del Martin, wrote Battered Wives, the first book in the U.S. about domestic violence. As a result, Del was appointed to the California Commission on Crime Control and Violence Prevention. When Kendra was going through her deceased mother’s papers, she came upon the Commission’s report and realized what a precedent this set for California violence prevention and how much in alignment with a Department of Peacebuilding the Commission was.
(See Photo #1/ No. CA DoP Lead Group, 2/2018; Photo #2/ CA Governor Gavin Newsom (when he was a candidate), Montana Newsom & DoP Advocates Kendra Mon, Jerilyn Stapleton, Nancy Merritt, Doug Merritt, CDP Meeting 8/2015; Photo #3/ DoP Advocates Jerilyn Stapleton, Maggi Koren, CDP Meeting 7/2018; Photo #4/ CDP Arab American & Veterans Caucus Leads Iyad Afalqa, Cullen Tiernan, Robert Leahy, CDP Meeting 7/2018.)
Genesis of CA State Peacebuilding Resolution
Kendra introduced this information at the annual Northern CA DoP Leadership Retreat in January 2018. For some time, the CA DoP group has considered promoting a CA State Department of Peacebuilding. Maggi Koren and others on the CA DoP team (Lily Marie, Nancy Merritt, Kendra Mon, Josh Roebuck, Jerilyn Stapleton) drafted a resolution and worked to get it through the CDP process. Maggi Koren, Nancy Merritt and Jerilyn Stapleton took this to the CDP Resolutions Committee in at the Party's Executive Board meeting in Oakland, CA in July 2018. At that time, Doug Merritt requested the Arab American and Veterans caucuses to endorse the resolution, which they did. In November 2018, Jerilyn Stapleton represented us at the CDP Executive Board Resolutions Committee hearing in Long Beach, CA. The full CDP Executive Board adopted the resolution on 11/18/18.
The 1982 Commission & the 2018 Resolution
In 1982, the State of California Commission on Crime Control and Violence Prevention (the Commission) issued recommendations for violence prevention – “Ounces of Prevention” and “Taking Root.” Some recommendations were implemented. Some were not. Some need to be updated. To fulfill the recommendations of the 1982 Commission and to foster a culture of peace, in 2018 the CA DoP Campaign urged the CDP to adopt the “Resolution to Encourage State Legislators to Establish a California Peacebuilding and Violence Prevention Government Entity.”
The 1982 Commission’s recommendations were codified in CA Penal Codes 14110-14121, which provided that the CA Office of Emergency Services (OES) oversee recommendations for community violence prevention and conflict resolution. Since the CA legislature enacted those codes, CA has established some violence prevention measures in areas such as bullying, domestic violence assistance programs, family violence prevention programs, project safe neighborhood programs and tribal crisis response training. (See www.caloes.ca.gov)
In California, as in the rest of this nation, violence continues to plague our society:
- During 2016 violent crime rates increased in 32 of the California's 58 counties—including 10 of the 15 largest counties. (Public Policy Institute of California)
- Race-related hate crimes increased by 21.3 percent in 2017, with hate crimes against African Americans accounting for the largest portion of the increase. (CA Dept. of Justice)
- Nearly 200,000 Californians are victims of elder abuse each year. (CA Dept. of Justice)
- There have been 11 mass shootingsin CA during 2018 (as of 6/18/18). (Gun Violence Archive)
- California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. (Los Angeles Times 1/14/ 2018)
"California can and must do better. We need to analyze what is out there, what works, what needs to be consolidated, where we can collaborate, and what needs to be created. Statistics on violence show we need to be smart on peacebuilding. We need best practices to save money, lives and quality of life." - CA DoP Campaign Statement
Statement to CDP Resolutions Committee
In our statement to the CDP Resolutions Committee, we requested a permanent office, agency, department, or commission within State Government devoted to cultivating peace, initiating peacebuilding and violence programs – a CA Department that analyzes, educates, supports, promotes and advocates for proven effective solutions to end violence. There have been sporadic CA government related efforts over the years to address and alleviate the root causes of violence. Such efforts continue within pockets of the CA government, for example in the CA Office of Emergency Services (OES) and recent studies by the CA Department of Health on Preventing Violence/ The Role of Public Health (2017 and continuing).
Prevention requires permanent, ongoing efforts and a CA Department of Peacebuilding and Violence Prevention.
The PBVP Resolution refers to the 1982 Report: “Ounces of Prevention: Toward an Understanding of the Cause of Violence,” which:
- Provided a comprehensive review of research findings on the causes of violence and offered recommendations for their prevention.
- Stated that the only effective means for dealing with our violence problem is the elimination of its causes.
- Stated that the report was not the end of violence prevention efforts and to remain viable these efforts will “require broader public involvement and increased assistance from government and industry.”
"We have an all systems breakdown in our society which requires an all systems approach to build bridges and repair the damage," said Marrianne Williamson. The CA DoP Campaign is going forward with the legacy of Kendra's mom and with the dream of creating a culture of peace.
In his innauguration speech on January 7, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom talked about Kendra's moms. "So 15 years ago, when I was a new mayor and I heard politicians in Washington sneering at 'California Values' and attaching our LGBT community, I remembered what my father taught me: "It's never the wrong time to do the right thing." And that's what we did. In San Francisco, Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, two women who had been in love for nearly 50 years, had the courage to stand up and say those two powerful words: I do. Thousands more followed in their footsteps. It took a long time, but love won."
"Every dream depends on the dreamers," said Governor Newsom.
See below for the complete resolution.
On Behalf of the CA Department of Peacebuilding Campaign
And Maggi Koren, Lily Marie, Kendra Mon, Josh Roebuck, Jerilyn Stapleton
Resolution to Encourage State Legislators to Establish a California Peacebuilding and Violence Prevention Government Entity
Whereas violence permeates our culture creating an all systems breakdown affecting all levels of American society due to increased direct, structural and cultural violence, despite having legislation for a Department of Peacebuilding in Congress since 2001, a bill that addresses violence prevention and making fundamental changes in how we teach our children, how we resolve interpersonal conflicts, and how we change the practice of acting institutionally to deny equal opportunities to whole classes of people; and
Whereas the California Democratic Party has taken numerous positions in support of a Department of Peacebuilding including endorsing legislation for the past three congressional sessions and adopting related peacebuilding language in multiple CDP Platforms, and the California Legislature, with Governor Jerry Brown’s approval, passed a related bill in 1979, Assembly Bill 23 for a Commission on Crime Control and Violence Prevention, 'to study root causes of violence, encouraging research and development of immediate and long-term programs for implementation ... the incidence of violence in our State continues to present an increasing and dominating societal problem that must be addressed at its root causes in order to reduce significantly the effects upon society'; and
Whereas some recommendations of the 1979 bill remain unfulfilled requiring revival, updating, and implementation using multi-disciplinary collaborations and best practices in legislation and policies addressing violence prevention programs in our schools and other institutions, gun violence prevention, fair and compassionate treatment of minorities, the poor and the incarcerated; updating mental health directives; and expanding prison rehabilitation programs and reformation.
Therefore Be It Resolved that the California Democratic Party encourage legislators to support and work for the creation of a permanent office, agency, or department within the State government devoted to peacebuilding and violence prevention, including policies and programs that analyze, educate, support, and promote effective solutions to end violence, in all its forms, and that such policies and programs shall be available to citizens, local governments, institutions and organizations.
Be It Further Resolved that the California Democratic Party share copies of this resolution with the Governor, California State Legislators, the Attorney General and other appropriate officials and policy makers.
Author: Jerilyn Stapleton, Assembly District 46: Maggi Koren, Assembly District 2; Nancy Merritt, Assembly District 15
Sponsored by Jerilyn Stapleton, Assembly District 46; Arab American Caucus of the California Democratic Party; Veteran’s Caucus of the California Democratic Party