We think it is time for a change. Not a small change, a big one. Something that will change the way we, as Ohioans, as Americans (heck, as members of the human race), will make us view our role in a different way. Something that will make us re-examine our function in the world and our impact in it. We want to create a new dialogue, a new conservation, and a new way of thinking.
When you turn on the news, listen to the radio, or follow current events, there is no shortage of negativity, war, conflict, and discrimination. It can stem from greed, from someone’s ethnic or racial background, from their religion, or their political affiliation. And let’s face it: war sells. People profit from it; governments profit from it, too. So do weapon manufacturers. And businesses. We think that should change. If anyone is going to make a profit, let it be for peace. For human security. For justice. Something greater than ourselves and far more beneficial for the communities we live in.
The 2016 International Conflict Resolution Education Summit, taking place at Ohio State in June, prompted the idea that we need to make peace a sustainable part of our conversation in Columbus, in Ohio, and across the United States. Over the course of a week, leaders in government, education and higher education, the non-profit and for-profit sectors will come to Columbus and discuss our collective responsibilities for a more peaceful, inclusive, secure community, regardless of individual and group differences. When we found out Ohio State would be hosting the conference, we thought about ways we could sustain and complement the conversations had during the conference once everyone left for the week. As a result, the Ohio Peace Collaborative was born—committed to exploring the intersections of peace, industry, and community.
We are not starting small. We have already solidified partnerships with well-known Columbus organizations such as the Gateway Film Center, the Wexner Medical Center, and the National Groundwater Association. We are looking at peace, human security, and justice through multiple lenses; a two night film festival, the medical field, a Running Water 10K race, and much more.
We want to bridge the divide between the major political parties; we are tired of political incivility and grandstanding. We need our elected officials to work together to execute sound public policy that improves the quality of life for everyone, not just a select few. We need public officials who are willing to compromise, agree on issues of mutual concern, and find a productive way to come to solutions. In short, we are tired of name-calling and talking points; let’s find out what our leaders can agree on and work from there. We are trying to bring civility and engaged discourse back to our political system by hosting a town hall forum where our elected officials can have a platform and path to start a positive conversation on the importance of our democratic institutions in promoting peace.
We are new, idealistic, and ready to start a movement. We are certain to face some challenges and failures along the way, but the goal of advocating a more peaceful, economically inclusive, and just society is far more important than any hurdles that come our way. We hope you consider joining us and being a part of this!