Early advocates of celebrating Mother's Day in the United States envisioned it as a day of peace, to honor and support mothers who had lost sons and husbands to the carnage of the Civil War. In 1870 - nearly 40 years before it became an official U.S. holiday in 1914 - social justice pioneer Julia Ward Howe issued her famous Mother's Day Proclamation, which called upon mothers of all nationalities to band together to promote the "amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace."
This May, at a time when our country is fighting a costly war abroad and our own communities are torn apart by violence and over-incarceration, it's time for Mother's Day to return to its roots.
We must let our leaders know that "Peace Wants a Piece of the Pie!"
In honor of Mother's Day, citizens all across the country will be delivering pies (along with a federal budget pie chart showing the miniscule current investment in peacebuilding) to the offices of Congressional Representatives and Senators to push for a greater federal investment in peacebuilding.
In particular, we are asking our elected officials to co-sponsor and actively push for key peacebuilding initatives currently before Congress:
YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION:
The Youth PROMISE Act (HR 2721): A bipartisan bill that funds and implements the best policy recommendations to reduce youth crime and violence through proven prevention and intervention practices, such as mentoring and after-school programs. The bill targets communities with the highest rates of youth crime and gang activity and empowers local communities with control over the use and oversight of resources.
BUDGET FUNDING IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
All these areas face cuts and in some cases outright elimination. All must be funded.
US Institute of Peace: $39 million
USIP is the independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence. USIP works to save lives, increase the government's ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs, and enhance our national security. The Peace Alliance supports $39 million for the US Institute of Peace, sustaining FY 2012 Appropriations
Conflict Stabilization Operations: $56.5 million
This account funds the Civilian Response Corps and the new Conflict Stabilization Operations bureau. This bureau focuses on preventing deadly conflict by assessing and planning an effective response to countries struggling with or at risk from conflict or civil strife. The Peace Alliance supports $56.5 million for Conflict Stabilization Operations.
Complex Crises Fund: $50 million
This account provides much-needed, unprogrammed money for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to prevent and respond to emerging or unforeseen crises. In addition to the traditional use of CCF (used in countries/regions that demonstrate a high or escalating risk of conflict or instability), the Administration adds an emphasis on opportunities for "progress in a newly emerging or fragile democracy". The Peace Alliance supports $50 million for the Complex Crises Fund.
The Department of Peace (H.R. 808): The most comprehensive bill in Congress to date that creates a Cabinet-level department to prioritize violence prevention and peacebuilding efforts in the Executive branch of our government.
Whether you plan to visit your elected officials or not, you can make a difference -- and support those who are making office visits -- by signing the petition below!