FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, May 30, 2020
Contact: Patrick Hiller; email@example.com
War Prevention Initiative: “Dismantling racism means dismantling militarism”
PORTLAND, OR – At the War Prevention Initiative, we are saddened and outraged by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Their deaths remind us that the evils of racism and white supremacy are omnipresent in United States. As result, we have observed nationwide protests, including those in our hometown of Portland, Oregon, some of which have turned violent. While we know from peace research that violence is counterproductive to the goals of protest movements, we understand that systemic racism poses a daily threat the lives of communities of color throughout the United States. This is made apparent when comparing the police response to those heavily-armed white men protesting stay-at-home orders that were allowed to parade into state capitols, while those protesting a brutal pattern of racism were greeted by police in riot gear and tear gas. This is a blatant display of ongoing racism fully sanctioned and actively driven by the White House.
Drawing again from insights in peace research, we believe that the militarization of security by the white dominant group against “the other”—whether people of color in the United States or “enemies” abroad—fuels a spiral of violence that we work to prevent. Our goal is to change this system of domination away from militarized peace, but towards peace with justice. Kelsey Coolidge, Associate Director of the War Prevention Initiative stated: “In moments like these, we feel frustrated that we can’t do more organizationally. At the War Prevention Initiative, our work takes the long view. We understand that there are key structural conditions—namely those of white supremacy and militarism—that lead to the violence we see across the United States. As peace scholars and advocates, we cannot call for peace without also calling for the dismantling of those very structural conditions that perpetuate white supremacy and normalize violence against communities of color. By confronting the militarization of our society (including the militarization of police), our work is not only to respond to the moment, but to contribute to the dismantling of those structural conditions that result in the untimely death of far too many black and brown lives.”
Those conditions maintain the ongoing and institutionalized deprivation of needs, well-being, identity, and freedom. Those conditions are built into an inhumane social order and visible in the ongoing forms of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia. Those systems maintain militarism and wars. At the War Prevention Initiative, we are committed to strengthening our efforts to demilitarize security and manage conflicts without violence while simultaneously acknowledging the disparities in harm directed towards non-white and non-dominant groups.
The War Prevention Initiative aims to is to transform the global peace and security paradigm to one that is built around viable alternatives to war and all forms of political violence.
For further comment or questions, please contact Patrick Hiller, Ph.D., War Prevention Initiative’s Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kelsey Coolidge, War Prevention Initiative’s Associate Director at email@example.com