(APN) ATLANTA - The City Council of Atlanta has voted 12-2 to support a resolution calling for a US Department of Peace, The Georgia Alliance for a US Department of Peace announced at a press conference today on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol.
The US Department of Peace, championed by US Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) during his 2004 US Presidential Campaign, would be at the Cabinet level complete with a US Secretary of Peace.
The resolution was introduced April 17, 2006, by Councilwoman Felicia Moore and passed the City Council on May 1, by a landslide 12-2 vote.
The US Congressional bills to create a US Department of Peace and Nonviolence are S 1756 in the US Senate and HR 3760 in the US House.
S 1756 was introduced by US Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) and is co-sponsored by US Senator James Jeffords (I-VT). Unfortunately, both of these US Senators are retiring and not running for reelection this year.
HR 3760 was introduced by US Rep. Kucinich and has 63 additional co-sponsors. Fortunately, Rep. Sanders (I-VT), who is likely to be elected to the seat being vacated by Senator Jeffords, is one of the House co-sponsors.
Georgia's US Congressional delegation includes only two co-sponsors of the bill, the usual suspects, US Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Cynthia McKinney (D-GA).
The event today honors the tradition of Mother's Day for Peace, which was envisioned by Julia Ward Howe. Mrs. Howe nursed soldiers during the American Civil War and then after the war saw the effects on widows and children. This inspired her to call for a Mother's Day of Peace, which evolved into our modern holiday.
Speakers at the press conference represented groups that deal with violence on every level of society: mothers, faith-based organizations, veterans, youth, advocates for the homeless, domestic violence awareness advocates, and representatives of the health care industry.
Besides Dr. Tarr, the State Coordinator for the Georgia Alliance for a Department of Peace, the speakers included Lisa McLeod, nationally syndicated humor writer and her daughter Elizabeth McLeod, 13.
Elizabeth read from an essay she had written in which she totaled the cost in actual "parent-hours" it takes to raise a child to the age of 18. All that work, she pointed out, becomes wasted when a child is killed in war. Ms. McLeod's father, Jay Earle, a 69 year-old navy veteran, also gave his support.
Other speakers included Malika Robins, Atlanta Collaborative Kitchen & Project Open Hand; Rev. Rex Kaney, Druid Hills United Methodist Church; Imam Plemon El-Amin, Atlanta Masjid of Al Islam; Hadayai S Majeed; Baitul Salaam, National Domestic Violence Awareness Organization; Ed Arnold, Physicians for Social Responsibility; Attorney Don Edwards, host of Every Church a Peace Church; Bert Skellie, The Interfaith Atlanta Coalition; Dick Bathrick, Men Stopping Violence; Rabbi Joshua Lesser, Congregation Bet Haverim; and Geshe Wangden Tashi, Drepung Loseling Institute, who spoke through a translator.
The speakers were warmly received by a small but very enthusiastic crowd. Common among the religious representatives was the belief that in all faiths, "Peacemakers are the children of God".
Dr. Tarr is delighted the City Council has passed the resolution so easily, she told Atlanta Progressive News in an interview. She expects the Mayor will also announce her support of the measure soon.
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