The Peace Alliance

by Aaron Voldman, The Peace Alliance

A few weeks ago I asked everyone to vote for Kevin Sanchez, a young peacemaker, to keynote the Campus Progress National Conference about the Youth PROMISE Act.

With all your help, we catapulted Kevin to the top three of a contest with 213,000 votes cast, and secured him as a keynote speaker for the mammoth Campus Progress National Conference.

The payoff was amazing. Kevin’s speech knocked the socks off the 1000-plus attendees and put the Youth Promise Act on the map. I simply can’t keep track of the number of people that swarmed us throughout the day asking for information.

This was your victory. Watch Kevin speak from the heart and inspire the changemakers in the room.

The people who were in the audience are among the most committed young leaders in the country – and Kevin just forged a partnership with them.  Kevin’s story and the Youth PROMISE Act received broad coverage. NPR’s Washington DC affiliate interviewed Kevin. The Washington Post’s esteemed Ezra Klein Blog named Kevin’s remarks the “best speech” of the event. Adam Peck of Campus Progress interviewed Kevin along with the other two keynote speakers.

There’s a lot more to be done, but just for today, let’s savor the victory we achieved.

Thank you for getting us here,
Aaron Voldman

VOTE for The Youth PROMISE Act

The Youth PROMISE Act (HR 1064/S 435) is bipartisan legislation that will give our communities the support and funding they need to effectively address youth violence issues. By specifically focusing on violence prevention and intervention strategies, this bill ensures we are funding programs that save lives and give every young person the opportunity to meet his or her potential.

Thanks to the efforts of thousand of Youth Promise Action volunteers, Kevin was selected to be a keynote speaker at the mammoth Campus Progress National Conference. Thousands of us got our friends and neighbors to vote Kevin to be the keynote speaker, and we succeeded! Kevin’s speech knocked the socks off the 1000-plus attendees and put the Youth Promise Act on the map.

The people who were in the audience are among the most committed young leaders in the country – and Kevin just forged a partnership with them. Kevin’s story and the Youth PROMISE Act received broad coverage:

Listen to Kevin. Then stand with Kevin again by becoming a citizen co-sponsor of the Youth Promise Act.

Congressman Bobby Scott, the lead congressman promoting the bill, wants us to gather 50,000 signatures. Can we make it?

Spread the word to your friends through facebook, twitter, and email using the buttons here.

Sign on as a citizen co-sponsor and we’ll send a letter your representatives in Congress and to the President in support of the Youth PROMISE Act.


Youth PROMISE Act Talking Points

Please Note: These talking points are for use in messaging and preparation for lobbying meetings.

  • This is common sense legislation.
  • We need to make reducing and preventing violence a national priority.
  • In these challenging economic times, we must find new and innovative ways to save money and maximize the effectiveness of every dollar spent. Reducing and preventing violence and expanding our capacity for nonviolent conflict resolution has the potential to save the nation hundreds of billions of dollars each year, increase our national security, and build a greater base of responsible citizenship.
  • Current levels of violence in our nation are fiscally, environmentally and ethically unsustainable.
  • Scientific and medical experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said, “Violence is not an insurmountable problem; it can be prevented through a thoughtful, systematic approach.” The Youth PROMISE Act gives communities the platform and resources from which to launch such an approach, thus saving billions of dollars and millions of lives each year.
  • Domestically, we suffer from a plague of school shootings and bullying, domestic violence, sexual assault, and gang violence. In the U.S., youth homicide rates are more than 10 times that of other first-world countries, and a World Health Organization report estimates the cost of interpersonal violence in the U.S. is in excess of $300 billion a year. We must apply new skills and practices to dealing with violence if we are to save money and lives.
  • According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 16 young people are murdered every day in America—they didn’t die in a car crash, they didn’t die of a drug overdose, they were murdered. That’s more American young-people dying every day due to violence in the so-called safety of their own neighborhoods than we have service men and women dying in Iraq due to a war.
  • Although there is a wealth of genius in our nation to deal with these crucial issues, the best thinking of the American People concerning violence prevention is not reflected in our national and local policies.
  • The Youth PROMISE Act will support proven methods for reducing and preventing all forms of violence; this will result in prudent and conservative fiscal policy.
  • It has been asked, Why is it that so many people are violent, but not illiterate? And the answer given is because we teach our children to read. Violent behavior is learned; nonviolent conflict resolution can also be taught and learned. The Youth PROMISE Act can provide us with the resources and focus needed to do that.
  • We must expand our capacity to resolve conflict before it erupts into violence
  • Policy-making today tends to reactive rather than proactive. We wait for violence to occur, and then turn to our already over-taxed military and police and ask them to fix it. We must shift the focus from reaction to prevention, allowing us to save billions of dollars and countless lives each year.
  • Conflict is inevitable; violence is not.