Minimizing Occurrences of Violence in Everyday Society
Superior Court Judge Arnold Rosenfield originally conceived the
idea of setting aside a day to focus on ways to prevent violence in
On March 31, 1995, over one hundred Sonoma County residents,
including teens and adults, met at Santa Rosa Junior College to share
ideas on how we can minimize violence in our communities. The event
was produced by a non-profit corporation called MOVES, which stands
for Minimizing Occurrences of Violence in Everyday Society.
Eight different categories of violence were discussed at this
forum; general violence, youth violence, domestic violence, racial
violence, guns used for violent crimes, media violence, adult
offenders and violence against women.
Conclusions from the forum are as follows:
MOVES 1995 Day on Non-Violence Community Forum Conclusions
- Individuals can learn to change themselves.
- People can change society.
- We can teach peace.
- We must model non-violence.
- We can learn anger management and find safe outlets for anger.
We have to learn to express anger and resolve conflicts without
hitting. There should be no physical punishment in schools.
- We must all learn conflict resolution. We must teach conflict
resolution. We can teach people how to be successful at conflict
resolution without violence and how to use negotiation skills.
There are methods for conflict management that can be utilized,
such as peer conflict managers. Young people can be taught
negotiation skills - how to use words to resolve conflicts. This
can be a required course for everyone, adults as well as children.
Conflict management education needs to be taught, not just to
students, but to teachers as well.
- We must educate and understand positive and negative aspects
- Kindness and cooperation perpetuate themselves, and
cooperation should be rewarded.
- Non-violent behavior should be rewarded.
- We must improve communications.
- Adults must acknowledge that they were kids once, too. They
must talk to their kids - communicate and identify with what
children are going through.
- Adults should be mentors for youth, act as positive role
models, and reinforce the positives in youth, especially to boost
- Patents should also be teachers for their children. Parents
need to get more involved in the activities at schools. After
school programs in sports, martial arts, music and art can include
- Formal mentoring programs for youth should be developed.
- Special attention and programs are needed for "youth at risk".
- There are many positive activity outlets: sports, martial
arts, boxing, roller skating, music, after school recreation
programs, nature and outdoor activities and inspirational events.
Programs that expose young students to colleges and universities
are also very effective at creating aspirations and stimulating
- Young people's energy must be channeled in a positive manner.
- Some children benefit greatly from food programs at school.
- Schools can act as the hub of a community and get kids,
especially teens, involved in their communities.
- Youth should learn to value service.
- Support from siblings should also be encouraged.
- Elderly people are often very able to establish mutual respect
with young people. Surrogate grandparents can be found where
natural grandparents are absent or deceased.
- The need to offer parenting support and to educate parents is
paramount. Parenting classes can be taught at children's schools.
The California Parenting Institute is a resource for this
- We have to be willing to pay for programs that prevent
- We need jobs, but we could also use tax breaks for
- Churches need to get more involved with the crisis of violence
- Social and cultural events and programs in the community
should educate people at all levels to develop community spirit.
Similarities between cultures should be stressed as much as
- Politicians need to have the courage to face the seriousness
of these issues and voters must vote to assure that effective,
supportive legislation is passed.
- Police officers are one of us and deserve our respect. They
can pass on their insights about the violence they all too
- There are many approaches to reduce violence by adult
offenders. Many adults need basic education-literacy first of all.
There can be more classes in public schools for adults. Adults
have to learn communication skills-to listen, and to speak in ways
to be heard. They need to learn practical goal setting. Adults
also learn well from peer educators.
- Punishment through prison time is not enough to teach adult
offenders to be responsible for their actions. Prison work pay
should be divided by thirds-one third goes to the prisoner, one
third to the victim(s) and one third to a trust fund for use after
- Adults need mentors and positive role models as much as
children do. Peer couseling like that provided by M.E.N. is very
effective. Professional counselors are also needed. Men need to
gain knowledge of their own mentality, channel their energy in a
positive manner, and lose their macho attitude.
- Adults need positive role models and mentors.
- Adult offenders need to learn alternatives to violence.
- It is generally acknowledged that members of our society own
more guns than they need. Programs to turn in unwanted guns, such
as Food for Guns exchanges that have been so successful, should be
- Dishonoring macho beliefs would improve general attitudes by
men about women. Where a perpetrator is known, there are often
early warning signs that women should be aware of and take action
to prevent an attack. There are laws and guidelines for how women
can avoid repeated acts of sexual harrassment, and women should
learn the recommeneded steps that will help avoid increased
seriousness to any incidents.
For each of us individuals:
- Take action to initiate change in society with the knowledge
that change only happens when people assume the responsibility for
their social, political, and physical enviroment.
- Use negotiating skills to resolve personal conflicts just as
you would in professional situations.
- Learn anger management and find safe outlets for anger.
- Acknowledge and reward non-violent behavior when you see it.
- Model and outwardly express respect for police officers.
- Men with histories or tendencies towards violence should
participate in men's counseling groups.
- Write or contact producers of T.V. programs or movies that
have excessively glamorized violence to express your disapproval.
Start write-in campaigns, boycotts of sponsors or stations, and
pledges to not support or pay for violent content to force
compliance from media producers to take the violent content out of
- Discredit macho attitudes and beliefs.
- Learn the laws and guidelines to eliminate sexual harassment
- Talk to children regularly about their personal problems.
- Be conscious that you are a role model and actively model
positive behavior to children.
- Find time to teach your children something-be a teacher for
- Enroll children in after school programs such as sports,
martial arts, boxing, roller skating, music, nature and outdoor
activities, or inspiritional events.
- Participate in after school programs with your children
whenever possible. Take parenting classes.
- Encourage siblings to mentor and support each other.
- Encourage close relationships between children and
- Control what TV shows your children watch. Restrict them from
watching excessively violent material. Utilize available
electronic technology to block violent programming.
- Discuss these issues with your children so that they can
distinguish between the horror of real violence and the
trivialized consequences of violence as potrayed in entertainment.
- Make an effort to schedule time for your children to watch
positive message programs on TV.
- Apply for funding for violence prevention programs.
- Teach conflict resolution as a required course with
specialized ciriculum designed for this.
- Establish conflict resolution courses for adults.
- Teach conflict resolution to teachers as classroom discipline
- Develop formal mentoring programs for children and for adults.
- Run community programs and activities that bring parents on to
the school site.
- Offer after school recreation programs.
- Put special attention into programs for youth at risk
- Provide food programs for children who need it.
- Provide parenting classes for adults and especially for teen
For law enforcement agencies
- Police officers need to find opportunties to relate personally
to citizens in situations other than only those where they must
respond to conflicts and criminal activites. Police officers can
educate residents, shopkeepers, etc, in violence prevention
- Run food for guns exchanges on a regular basis.
- Teach literacy and other basic life skills to adult offenders
- Require adult counseling for men with histories of violence.
- Develop funding for parolees to transition back into
productive roles in society.
- Allocate funds for violence prevention programs.
- Legislate tax incentives for volunteer work performed by
- Be pro-active at creating legislation for programs that get to
the root causes of frequent types of violence. Minimize reactive
publicity initiatives that only make it appear that problems are
being addressed, when in fact these measures have no impact at
actually reducing violence.
- Require warnings or other forms of censorship of violence in
For churches and community organizations
- Organization leaders need to be aware of pressures that affect
their members and be actively involved in violence prevention
efforts with them.
- Develop formal mentoring programs for children and for adults.
- Youth centers should be staffed with peer counselors. Include
muti-cultural awareness whenever appropriate. Point out
similarites as well as differences between groups.
- Create forums for muti-conversations, such as town meetings,
community meetings, and conferences.
The causes and effects of violence demands an understanding of
personal problems, community lifestyles and values, general policies
of public and private institutions, deficiencies in available
programs and the need to expand, promote and fund programs that are
the Redwood Highway
MOVES description by Cheryl Braun; html and uploading by LEH 7/17/97 and updated by pj 8/5/07