Things that Make for Peace: Thoughts on a Department of Violence Prevention

This. We must address the root causes of violence and stop thinking that more policing will solve our problems.


This Spring, when the Oakland City Council was wading hip-deep into budget negotiations, Councilmember Lynette McElhaney proposed a new Department of Violence Prevention. I had and continue to have serious concerns about this proposal and brought them to the Council during public comment.

I disagree with the path of “departmentalizing” violence prevention, but not because I don’t want to prevent violence.  I disagree because I believe this will not bring the results we desire.  As a follower of the way of Jesus, I resonate with his words in Luke 19

As Jesus came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”

I’m committed to “the things that make for peace.” I grieve whenever a neighbor loses a loved one to violence…

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