Legislation

2015 Office of Peacebuilding Act

Summary:

SB 294, sponsored by Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino
Click here to read the full bill.

An Act: Relating to executive reorganization; creating the Office of Peacebuilding; providing powers and duties; creating the Citizens Peacebuilding Advisory Council; making an appropriation.

Purpose:

To establish a state office dedicated to peacemaking, justice and human rights, training that will enable the prevention, management and resolution of conflict without violence, and the study and implementation of conditions that are conducive to a culture of peace.

The Office of Peacebuilding will make PEACE an organizing principle at all levels of our society. It will bring PEACE from the margins of our society back into the center of our lives and communities. The office will provide the infrastructure for the preparation and practice of peace and nonviolence. It will make peace a priority in New Mexico.

Dialogue Process: The use of facilitated dialogue can improve relationships of people and groups in conflict and has had positive results when used between members of the Santa Fe Police and Sheriff’s Departments and community activists and between two groups of middle school students in conflict. Use of dialogue, mediation, restorative justice methods and other alternative dispute resolution will be expanded throughout the state.

Peace Education Curriculum: A peace education curriculum for all levels in public schools will be developed and implemented working with educators statewide. The increased awareness, knowledge and skills of peace and justice will accomplish for the safety and security of the people of NM what the Office of Homeland Security cannot. Students will explore the meaning of peace and nonviolence in their own lives and in their schools and communities, learning to listen, dialogue and support each other repairing harm caused, while allowing space for inner peace to flourish.

Peace Economy: The meaning and conditions of a peace economy will be explored and promoted in NM. The office will make sustainability, clean, renewable energies, economic conversion, the wise use and conservation of water and a living wage priorities. Mediation, dialogue, restorative justice and alternative dispute resolution in government agencies, courts and schools have begun and are already saving the state time and money while improving relationships and the level of compliance with agreements people reach together. The office will help expand the use of these skills statewide. As violence decreases long term, the level of litigation and incarceration will also decrease saving the state money, and the quality of life will increase in our homes, schools and communities.

The NM Office of Peacebuilding will coordinate, support and collaborate with existing peace and nonviolent efforts in NM and encourage innovation.

Duties of the Office:

  • Impact the Prevention, Management, and Resolution of Conflict
    • Organize public dialogues throughout the state to address controversial issues and conflict
    • Coordinate, support and collaborate with established efforts to build upon existing programs as well as develop new approaches
    • Establish community-based violence prevention programs
  • Support the Education of Future Generations
    • Develop a peace education curriculum
    • Make available supporting materials to school districts throughout the state
    • Provide peace education grants for expansion of peace studies and skills at all educational levels, including the practice of restorative justice
  • Promote Conditions that Build a Culture of Peace
    • Support victims of violence and family members of perpetrators of violence
    • Promote tolerance and understanding among the diverse peoples of NM
    • Study and promote ways to insure a sustainable, life-affirming peace economy
  • Keep the Public Informed
    • Disseminate information on effective community peacebuilding activities
    • Make studies available that address the role of media and its affects on conflict
    • Publish activities of the office
    • Sponsor conferences to provide forums for peace issues and studies

ACTION:

Please contact your state legislators and the Governor and urge them to support the Office of Peacebuilding Act.

Peace is Possible. Thank you for helping it happen!