Newark, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and about 34 other local governing bodies already support the idea - and now a group of Brooklynites is pushing hard for a New York City Council Resolution supporting the creation of the United States Department of Peace.
The bill in the U.S. Congress is known as HR 808, and among other things calls for a new cabinet post advising the president in ways to reduce domestic and international violence, the creation of a United States Peace Academy and teaching violence prevention & conflict resolution skills to all K to 12 students.
“We have plenty of money for wars but what have we done for non-violent confrontation?” says Howard Rosenberg, a Ft. Greene resident and member of New Yorkers for a Department of Peace.
Part of the Peace Alliance Campaign, members of New Yorkers for a Department of Peace are appealing directly to their Brooklyn neighbors to push passage of New York City Council Resolution 627.
That resolution is now sitting in the Cultural Affairs Committee waiting for a full New York City Council hearing. It has 15 co-sponsors. Councilmember Domenic Recchia, representing the 47th District, chairs the Cultural Affairs Committee.
“Anything that can help us to get what we need to keep peace and security throughout the world we have to be in favor of that,” Recchia said.
Although the councilman said he was unaware of the resolution, he did promise to look at it.
At the last meeting of Community Board 11, Rosenberg and fellow members of New Yorkers for a Department of Peace - many of them parents concerned about their children’s future - asked for help in getting a hearing on New York City Council Resolution 627.
“War itself is not going to make us safe,” Rosenberg says. “We know the world is too unstable to use the military to solve all our problems - there are too many unintended consequences.”
Introduced two years ago by Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, New Yorkers for a Department of Peace are betting that the new Obama administration with its emphasis on “smart power” will be more receptive to HR 808.
“We have to engage the world as a community and open a dialogue,” Rosenberg says. “Some say that’s naive, but [Richard ]Nixon went to China and he was the most conservative president in history.”