I feel compelled to share both my profound sadness at the seeming downward spiral of civility and social order in our country, and indeed around the world, and at the same time the hopefulness I feel in all that is happening below the radar of the mainstream media to build a society founded in peace and love. It is very much a time of both breakdown of an old order and breakthrough to a new one.
In just the past few weeks, the rapid-fire killings in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas are just the latest incidents in a series of horrific acts of violence in the escalating racial, political, and gender wars in the U.S. Unprecedented in my lifetime (which I guess is long enough now to mean something!), these events and the trends they portend have been a source of tremendous sadness to me. And they have shaken the country as a whole to its foundations – which in the long run can be a good thing, actually. Maybe we have needed to be shaken up and forced to take a good hard look at who we are as a nation, what it is we stand for, what kind of world we envision for our children and grandchildren – and what each of us as individuals can do to realize that vision..
On the hopeful side, communities are coming together to soul search, find solace, heal, and discover solutions. And countless people and organizations are redoubling their efforts to counter the trends of dissolution and build a more loving and caring society. Personally, for me, the National Peace Academy is one of those organizations – and one that I feel blessed to have been able to be an active part of since its founding seven years ago. FYI, here’s a sample of some of the initiatives we are engaged with right now:
- NPA partners with and supports the Truth-Telling project, a national effort to create change in the systems and structures that support racism in the United States – specifically through the tools of truth-telling and restorative practices.
- NPA is supporting and participating in Global Youth Rising, a gathering this week in Romania of over 50 young peacebuilders from around the world, many working on the ground in places like Syria and Iraq, coming together to share and learn from one another.
- Through our affiliation with George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, NPA supports the growth and development of a civilian Camp David at S-CAR’s Point of View conference facility. This collaboration, including our support of the Elise Boulding Scholar-Practitioner faculty position at S-CAR, also furthers our research and practice in areas of restorative justice.
And there is so much more we could do – indeed are being asked to do – that is beyond our current bandwidth, which we are in the process of expanding through our comprehensive development campaign, Building on a Strong Foundation - Establishing an Enduring Peace.