Parents For Peace
The National Police Foundation’s Center for Mass Violence Response Studies has partnered with Parents For Peace (P4P), a non-governmental, public health, non-profit organization that supports families, friends, and communities concerned about someone becoming involved with extremism. P4P members include former extremists, families of former extremists, and survivors of extremist acts. By giving a voice to families and friends whose loved ones have been affected by extremism, we are able to share the wisdom they’ve gained, learn what the warning signs are, and encourage others to seek help. Parents For Peace website is: Parents4Peace.org
P4P was co-founded by Melvin Bledsoe after his son Carlos was radicalized and committed a deadly act of terrorism on U.S. soil. Melvin’s goal: no other family should experience the trauma he continues to wrestle with.
Recognizing Radical Extremism as a Public Health Issue: Parents for Peace provides guidance and early intervention, raises public awareness, and advocates for effective policy solutions. In partnership with the National Police Foundation, Parents For Peace is researching better ways to combat behaviors that lead to radicalization and extremism.
Parents For Peace work focuses on the following initiatives:
A National Helpline: Family and friends have an important role to play in helping a vulnerable individual. To intervene with radicalist grooming and recruitment, we offer guidance and support to concerned individuals. As an organization, P4P recognizes violent extremism as a complex public health issue and offers assistance to concerned families and friends through a helpline: 1-844-49-PEACE (1-844-497-3223).
Veterans and Law Enforcement Programs- Hate Anonymous (HA): Working with veterans and law enforcement, P4P has developed a program called Hate Anonymous for anyone who has been drawn into extremist or hateful behavior. It is loosely based on the 12 step program. HA was developed by a P4P member and Veteran who was once part of the KKK. This program is for anyone struggling with identity, anger and hate. This program is designed to help vulnerable veterans or law enforcement professionals, to feel safe, happy and fully functioning members of their organizations and civilian society.
P4P Toolkits: P4P offers toolkits for those concerned about loved ones that may be involved in extremism. The P4P toolkits provide explanations of issues such as radicalization and extremism and offers the tools and resources to recognize radicalization. It is developed with educators, law enforcement, health professionals, social workers and youth-peers to understand early warning signs of someone that might be leaning towards extremist ideology.
Youth Resilience Programs: We emphasize youth resilience and envision a world where young people remain strong during the impressionable and vulnerable stages of adolescence. When youth have the opportunity to live a safe, confident life and feel supported by their community, their resilience to many dangers, including extremist ideology, is increased. Our goal is to help families and friends become effective mentors, using their established relationship to build a foundation of trust with loved ones who may be involved in extremism.
Serve 2 Unite – A Parents for Peace Initiative (S2U): The S2U initiative allows students in elementary school through high school to engage in exercises and simulations that work to prevent radicalization and violent extremism. The S2U has proven to establish healthy sense of identity, purpose, and belonging, that protects young people from violent extremist ideologies, gun violence, school shootings, bullying, substance abuse, and other forms of violence.
The CMVRS has partnered with Parents for Peace to submit a proposal for a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Targeted Violence prevention grant as well as in a webinar entitled: A Practitioner’s Guide to Overcoming Bigotry and Finding Solutions for Reconciliation (June 17, 2020).
The Boston Countering Violence & Extremism Project
The National Police Foundation is collaborating with the North American Family Institute, United Somali Youth, and the Boston Police Department (BPD) to build and foster community resilience to extremist recruitment and radicalization among Somali immigrant families in the Boston metropolitan area. Funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security supports the project.
The Boston CVE project is built on The Youth & Police Initiative which brings at-risk youth together with neighborhood police officers to share personal stories, meals, and to let their guards down long enough to have the difficult and honest discussions that are necessary for real change to take place. YPI includes: (a) interactive training sessions, (b) case management and mentoring, (c) parent engagement and education, (d) community outreach, (e) youth leadership development, and (f) police information sharing.
YPI began in Baltimore, then went to White Plains and Yonkers, New York, and into Boston’s challenging Franklin Field Public Housing Development, which had some of the worst homicide and violence statistics in the nation. YPI has been implemented in communities across the United States, bringing police, youth and communities together to explore the most challenging issues and to build trust and respect.
The World Summit on Countering Extremism and Violence
In October 2018, the Center’s Director and the NPF’s Senior Counselor joined an international delegation and traveled to India to participate in the World Summit on Countering Extremism and Violence. During the Summit, participants explored Ghandi’s principals of non-violence and their application to the U.S. and international challenge of extremism and violence. Participants also explored meditation, breathing, and mindfulness techniques and their application to personal as well as communal wellness as relationship building.
The CMVRS continues to build its relationship and collaboration with From India with Love, the Art of Living Foundation, and the International Association for Human Values as well as other participants in the Summit.