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Rep. John Lewis Introduces Innovative Non-violence Legislation

July 15, 2016
Press Release

In advance of Nelson Mandela International Day and in response to recent violence, Congressman Lewis introduced a revised and updated version of the Securing American Families by Educating and Training You (SAFETY) through Nonviolence Act and the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act.  These bills help provide the basis for a 21st century recommitment to the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence by helping to support and renew peace and nonviolence strategies in the United States and around the world.

H.R. 5846, the SAFETY through Nonviolence Act, establishes a national initiative to teach the principles and philosophy of nonviolence to develop innovative, integrated, community-based, violence prevention training and programs. Its intention is to break the constant and seemingly increased prevalence of community-based violence and global war, by focusing policy initiatives on prevention, pathways to positive peace, and true reconciliation.

H.R. 5847, the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act, institutes three international programs to promote exchanges, training, and discussions which apply the philosophies of nonviolence to current human rights, civil rights, democracy, and conflict resolution challenges.

"I have come to that point," Rep. John Lewis said, "where I see non-violence as one of those immutable principles that should not be violated.  While the entire world community may not have this view, it is imperative that we continue to build our understanding of this invaluable discipline.  That way we can ensure our society has trained and capable proponents of peace working at every level of public policy, along with those who may have other views."

According to the 2016 Global Peace Index (GPI) report which notes 10-years of declining peacefulness, domestic and international peace has significant economic benefits. The 2016 GPI argues that violence cost $13.6 trillion in 2015. Today, the fiscal losses resulting from conflict greatly exceeds investments in peacebuilding and peacekeeping.   This legislation can help to shift that dynamic by yielding a 21st century, global community of scholars and practitioners of nonviolence who can continue the effort to help build the Beloved Community in our society and around the world.