Strengthening civil society — the rules that bind us and allow us to live productively together, with established means of resolving conflict — is the means to those ends.
Peace enriches our communities and individual lives, as it directs us to embrace diversity and support one another to the fullest extent possible. Through caring, generosity, and fairness we provide a cornerstone for attaining a sustainable, just, meaningful, vibrant, and fulfilling personal and community life. Promoting peace requires valuing and considering both oneself and others. As such, peace is central to every situation throughout our lives.
Just as a child is enriched as he or she learns to take on more responsibilities, the meaning in our lives grows as we learn to recognize and take more responsibility for one another and the world.
Using Conflict Resolution Skills: Trying to Forgive and Move Forward
While such a broad application is encouraged, individuals or communities can enhance their impact by strategically focusing their efforts. In community organizing, promoting peace is in many ways similar to other areas of strategic planning. The Charter for Compassion and the Community Tool Box recommend the following four steps that can help to detect and set peace-building priorities, then develop peaceful action opportunities:.
- Tahitian Triangle: A South Pacific Odyssey.
- The MAN Elijah;
- Exercise 1: Self-Care Vision Board.
Learn more about the issues and assets that affect peace in your community. A quick snapshot of concerns can be identified through statistics on criminal activities, hate crimes, and school incidents. You can reach out and participate in some of their activities. Participatory Asset Mapping builds on discussions with community residents in order to identify and map locations of issues of concern such as high crime areas , community assets to protect such as parks, schools and organizations , and factors that impact community violence such as vacant lots and abandoned buildings.
For helpful guidance, refer to the tools available from organizations such as the Advancement Project. With this information in hand, choose the most important issues to you and your community, particularly those you can commit to in promoting peace. Here are some among many potential areas of focus that individuals and community peace organizations have chosen, ranging along a continuum from simple to more extensive:.
Join with others already active in your community to pursue your goals for peace-building. Learn if your town has a peace commission or similar organization. Even if not, the Charter for Compassion lists many communities that have committed to the principles of compassion and are mobilized to take action.
You can contact the local organizers of such efforts, or follow their guidelines to help start and implement your own.
Eight Keys to Forgiveness | Greater Good
Evaluating your peace-building efforts can help ensure they are effective and sustained. Setting clear and measurable objectives can pave the way for progress that can easily be transparently monitored. It is vital to be inclusive and listen to the voices of the entire community as you develop, implement, and evaluate as well as celebrate the success of your actions. Below are several different contexts and situations for strategically promoting peace: all involve being inclusive, proactively addressing needs, and anticipating situations that may arise.
As we form and define our communities, the groundwork for promoting peace can be laid by ensuring that all in the community are welcome and that none are excluded. Peace-building calls upon us to ensure that policies and procedures benefit the entire community. A fundamental first step is to establish and follow a clear, fair, and just rule of law.
Consider, as an example, the long history of unequal law enforcement in the United States. The mission of the police is to advance justice: Yet too often black youths and other people of color have been profiled by the police, resulting in unfair, and in some instances life-threatening, treatment. We must recognize the persistence of discrimination even as we make progress and take action to root out its many forms. For instance, Maryland responded to recent serious incidents by issuing new guidelines for police departments throughout the state.
These guidelines explicitly condemn the arbitrary profiling of certain races, ethnicities, and other minority groups, and restrict the circumstances under which police officers can consider those characteristics during interactions with the public. The guidelines are accompanied by new training programs for police officers and ways to partner with residents. Furthermore, the Baltimore Police Department has established a Community Collaboration Division that recognizes the importance of a close partnership with residents and other community sectors.
Its mission is "to develop strategies that produce collaborative partnerships between law enforcement, Baltimore city residents, faith-based organizations, businesses, schools, media, other government agencies, and non-profit organizations. As we consider the following circumstances, remember that we, or those we care about, all might fall within these categories at one point in our lives; and while we are responsible for others they also are responsible for us:.
As documented in books such as Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization , by Steven Solomon, caring for the earth is essential for being able to live in peace with one another. Many of the most serious conflicts that have arisen, from genocide in the Sudan to the recent fighting in Syria, have stemmed from environmental collapse and resource depletion.
Acknowledging our connections and responsibilities to one another and our world does not mean that everyone needs to take on every issue; but awareness of mutual dependency is an important foundation to acting peaceably. Spiritual traditions offer many ways of safeguarding this care, calling for us to be good shepherds of the earth.
The law of the Iroquois, for instance, guides us to make community decisions that will serve those who will be born seven generations into the future. In sum, there are few if any situations in which being conscious of respect, inclusiveness, and justice will not help to promote peace. There are many paths to climbing a mountain; similarly, there are many paths through which a commitment to peace can be used to strengthen oneself and one's community. There are approaches one can take as an individual, a family, an organization, or a community, nation, or general society.
Some of these are simple, while others require more commitment and resources. Let us consider each approach in more detail. Many maintain the importance of establishing peace within oneself in order to bring about peace in the world. Quelling the tendency to be at war with oneself, and with those closest to us, can be among the most rewarding, if difficult, accomplishments.
The power of conflict resolution at the negotiation table
You could start by acknowledging your worth and your flaws — we all have both. With that acceptance, show compassion toward yourself, and seek out strategies and supports best suited to you and your circumstances. An artist who works with young men involved in the juvenile justice system, Antonio describes his inward journey and choices. At the time of this writing — almost 14 years since September 11th, — it seems effortless to share these words as they are unencumbered by some of the traumatic feelings and perceptions from the day my Dad, Louis F.
Aversano, Jr, was killed in the World Trade Center. The experience of losing my Dad through such a globally impacting tragedy was one of feeling broken open. And, from this breaking of all that I knew and all I knew myself to be, I believe I experienced what some call Grace — as the Soul of who I am rose to the surface and since has become an integrated and instrumental part of who I am and how I live my life. How would I choose to live my life from that moment on?
Just the realization that I had a choice was itself a transformation. To both be washed over by grief, anger, and the temptation of revenge, while also clearly sensing that beyond my pain there was another way forward, felt like I was given a huge Divinely-guided gift. Day by day I came to accept what happened in my life and decided to honor the best of who my Dad was, who I am, and who we all are by living a life guided by Love and dedicated to Peace.
In essence, I learned that if I want to live in a peaceful world, the seeds of Peace must first bloom within me.
Living in Peace is a process reflected in each moment by what I choose to believe, how I filter my perceptions, and all the ways I then act, create, and live the gift of my life. By witnessing and having compassion for the impulses of fear, hatred, and ill will in my own mind and heart, I learned that self-awareness and a commitment to personal transformation is the most profound action that I can take in cultivating Peace in my own life.
By doing so, the possibility for Peace comes alive in every moment, in every interaction, and in every way I am called to serve others.
The Peace that shines from within becomes a beacon for a peaceful way of being that, through its demonstration in everyday life, has a profound and incalculable ripple effect with the potential to reach its waves around the world. Domestic violence and child abuse are urgent problems that have often been viewed inappropriately as private, rather than as community concerns. Correcting this misperception is an important first step to addressing these too-prevalent crimes that have risen to epidemic proportions in the U.
Bureau of Justice statistics indicate that a majority of homicides of women in the U. Author and advocate Gloria Steinem emphasizes that these are crimes of domination rooted in unequal power dynamics. Those perpetrating such crimes in families, she observes, are more likely to eventually commit crimes in community settings linked to dominance as well, such as hate crimes.
When these domestic crimes are ignored or inadequately addressed, it places everyone at risk. She describes the many arenas in which historic and ongoing violence and oppression waged against Native American communities has segued into violence against women. Despite the scale of such violence, there is evidence that it is neither universal nor inevitable. The World Health Organization has established that effective interventions exist to address individual, relationship, community, and societal factors.
Recommended community-level interventions include:.
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