I Stand for Peace
Peace Alliance Campaign Focuses on the Epidemic of Youth Violence in the U.S.
Washington, D.C. – March 31, 2008 – The Peace Alliance marked the start of National Youth Violence Prevention Week 2008 today with the launch of its I Stand for Peace education and awareness campaign. I Stand for Peace focuses attention on the systemic cycle of youth violence in the U.S. and provides the public and communities with access to nationally recognized solutions to combat this issue.
A PSA titled "Stand Up and Be Counted" will begin airing nationwide today. Produced in partnership with The Peace Alliance by graduate students from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, the 30-second spot tells Azim Khamisa’s personal story of losing his son Tariq to gang violence in 1995. Seeing victims on both ends of the gun, Khamisa started The Tariq Khamisa Foundation (www.tkf.org) in his son’s honor, and invited the grandfather of his son’s killer to join him. Together they have successfully taught children the principles of nonviolence and peacemaking for over 13 years.
"Tariq was murdered by a 14-year-old gang member," said Khamisa, a noted public speaker and expert on youth violence prevention. "This violence must end. Giving children the tools they need to nonviolently resolve conflict must be a national priority. The Peace Alliance’s I Stand for Peace campaign, like TKF, will bring further awareness to this issue, its urgency, and solutions to keep kids from killing kids."
In addition to the PSA, an informational website, www.thepeacealliance.org/stand, is available for the public to access statistical data, prevention programs and links to a variety of resources.
According to a 2007 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), homicide in the U.S. is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 through 24, and of those deaths, 81 percent were killed with a firearm. In 2005, this same group accounted for almost 50 percent of homicide-related arrests and 62 percent of arrests related to robbery. Additionally, according to a 2004 World Health Organization report, the cost of interpersonal violence in the U.S reaches upwards of $300 billion annually. The same report estimates the cost to victims at more than $500 billion per year. These costs exclude expenses associated with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
"Our goal is to reignite awareness of the youth violence epidemic in the U.S. and educate the public and community leaders that there is essentially a ‘cure,'" said Peace Alliance Managing Director Wendy Greene. "There are proven solutions out there, but they’re meaningless if we don’t use them. Our young people deserve better. They deserve to live in a country where reducing and preventing youth violence a national priority. They deserve to be safe and to grow up without fear."
Stand Up and Be Counted is available for viewing at www.thepeacealliance.org/stand, and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRNNLwPFTOU
About The Peace Alliance:
The Peace Alliance is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization leading a growing grassroots movement active in all 50 states to pass HR 808, legislation to create a U.S. Department of Peace. This bill is currently co-sponsored by 69 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Domestically, the Department will research, propose and facilitate practical, field-tested solutions to reduce and prevent violence. It will provide additional financial and institutional heft to strengthen and complement our current approach to violence, focusing on prevention through multi-layered strategies, including increased funding for local programs already proven effective at reducing and preventing violence. A Peace Academy, on par with the Military Service Academies, will train civilian peacekeepers and the military in the latest nonviolent conflict resolution techniques and approaches.
Internationally, the Department will research and analyze foreign policy and recommend to the President ways to address the root causes of war. The Department will also provide expert advice to the President on nonviolent means of diffusing or dealing with international crises and conflicts.
For more information on HR 808 and the campaign, please visit www.thepeacealliance.org.
TKF is dedicated to "Stopping Kids from Killing Kids" and breaking the cycle of youth violence by inspiring nonviolent choices and planting seeds of hope for our children's future. Through TKF's school-based nonviolence programs and curriculum, TKF works with elementary, middle, and high school students. TKF teaches them about the realities of gangs, violence, revenge, and the importance of becoming "peacemakers."
Mr. Khamisa’s comments in this press release are made in his capacity as a peace activist, speaker and author, and are not to be construed as official statements on behalf of TKF.
For more information, please visit www.tkf.org.