I cannot believe that the constant refugee crisis we see and hear on the news does not make us all feel helpless and sad. Our children are our number one and top priority and we all would do anything to keep our families safe right? But how can we prevent wars before they start? Well there actually is a preventative way with proven track record; it is called the Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (GAPA).

What is GAPA? #1: It strengthens The Atrocities Prevention Board, which coordinates a whole-of -government approach to preventing mass atrocities and genocide, it has succeeded in doing in Burundi over the past two years. #2: It also strengthens the Complex Crises Fund which in 2013 allocated resources for the swift and effective stopping of mass violence in the Central African Republic and has been effective in dozens of other countries including Yemen, Kenya and Tunisia. #3: It requires conflict prevention and de-escalation training for all State Department Foreign Service officers and lastly; affirm Atrocities Prevention as a US policy priority.

We need Congress to Authorize GAPA for a far more secure world, and that is why I have called on Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman to co-sponsor S. 2551 and Jim Jordan to support the House version, I hope you will join me in asking them too!

Debra Walters

Champaign County Peace Alliance