Domestic Peacebuilding

Today America faces not only a crisis of democracy but the continuation of racial, ethnic and class tensions that threaten peace and stability. Peacebuilding efforts within the United States are necessary now more than ever as we continue to fight against the weakening of institutions and against tensions within our communities.

This page will serve as a hub for resources on understanding conflict dynamics in the United States as well as current domestic peacebuilding efforts.

Mapping U.S. Peacebuilding

Peace Direct and the Alliance for Peacebuilding have launched a new effort to lift up and support local peacebuilding in the United States. Our new U.S. section of Peace Direct’s global online website, Peace Insight, is an interactive map that includes information about groups working for peace across the U.S.

Peace Direct is managing additional organizations for the map, which can be submitted here.

See the Mapping


Interested in the environment and environmental justice? Check out the Environmental Justice Atlas for an interactive map with information on environmental conflicts in the United States and around the world. To learn more about the organizations behind the creation of this map, click here.


Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together by Van Jones

Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam

Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? by Robert Kuttner

Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America by Cass R. Sunstein

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America by David Cay Johnston

New Power by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet-Deported by Thomas Mann, Norman Ornstein, and EJ Dionne

Our Damaged Democracy: We the People Must Act by Joseph A. Califano, Jr.

Our Kids by Robert Putnam

Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations by Amy Chua

#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media by Cass R. Sunstein

Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild

Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy by Jonah Goldberg

The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic by Ganesh Sitaraman

The End of White Christian America by Robert P. Jones

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

The People vs. Democracy by Yascha Mounk

The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker by Katherine Cramer

The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham

The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities by Michelle Alexander

Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic by David Frum

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Race Divide by Carol Anderson

Academic Research

Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape

More in Common

October 2018
Costs of War: The $5.6 Trillion Price Tag of the Post-9/11 Wars

Neta C. Crawford, Boston University

November 2017
Challenging Race-Based Environmental Conflicts

DeMond Shondell Miller & John Thomas Mills, Peace Review

November 22, 2016

News Articles & Blogs

Governance & Institutional Erosion
             Women & Gender                 
                Race & Ethnicity                 
              Nonviolent Action               

News & Talk Shows

In GOP’s post-election power grabs, experts see ‘disturbing’ trend

NBC News, Demceber 10, 2018

44 former US senators urge current Senate to defend democracy in op-ed

CNN, December 10, 2018

Why the Announcement of a Looming White Minority Makes Demographers Nervous

The New York Times, November 22, 2018

Left-Wing Protests Are Crossing the Line

The Atlantic, November 16, 2018

The White-Supremacy Surge

National Review, November 15, 2018

Representative Democracy? Democrats Won Popular Vote for House, Senate and President but Control Only One

Newsweek, November 8, 2018

The Two Americas Just Lurched Further Apart

CNN, November 8, 2018

The Harsh Truth Exposed by the Midterm Elections

The Atlantic, November 7, 2018

America’s Problem Isn’t Tribalism—It’s Racism

The Atlantic, November 7, 2018

What is Happening to Our Country?

Washington Post, October 27, 2018

The Rich White Civil War

The New York Times, October 15, 2018

The American Civil War, Part II

The New York Times, October 2, 2018

Gender Lens Investing

News Deeply, June 5, 2018

The Top 14 Causes of Political Polarization

The American Interest, May 16, 2018

Millennial trust in military higher than trust in presidency: poll

MSNBC: Morning Joe, April 18, 2018

Madeline Albright: I’m warning the American public

MSNBC: Morning Joe, April 11, 2018

Sinclair tells stations to air media-bashing promos–and the criticism goes viral

CNN Media, April 2, 2018

How political opponents became enemies in the U.S.

PBS NewsHour, April 1, 2018

Melber: New scandal shows Zuckerberg still puts Kremlin over U.S.

MSNBC: The Beat, March 21, 2018

Congressman calls for action if Robert Mueller is fired

MSNBC: Morning Joe, March 19, 2018

‘Can It Happen Here?’ tackles authoritarianism

MSNBC: Morning Joe, March 16, 2018

What our current political climate says about us

MSNBC: Morning Joe, March 15, 2018

How real news can stand up to disinformation on Facebook

CNN, March 15, 2018

‘People vs. Democracy’ looks at our populist movement

MSNBC: Morning Joe, March 6, 2018



While not dedicated to domestic peacebuilding, these podcasts have some episodes that discuss a range of peacebuilding-related topics such as deciding when and how to protest, the recent increase in women political candidates in the U.S., and community and business peacebuilding initiatives.

Thinking CAP   The Peacebuilding Podcast  Code Switch

       The 1A


Film & Other Media

Representation of peace and peacebuilding in the media is crucial for promoting peace at home and abroad. These films and videos showcase American citizens and their efforts both to build peace within their communities and to peacefully address important social issues.


Compelled to Action: The Story of Citizens Alert (2017)

A film series produced by Peace Productions documenting Citizen Alert’s efforts to hold the police accountable and promote peace.

Flint (2017)

A dramatized portrayal of the Flint Water Crisis which began in 2014 when the city switched water providers. It begs the question of race, poverty and environmental justice.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

A major motion picture depicting the story of Desmond Dodd, a conscientious objector during World War 2, who saved many wounded soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa without ever wielding a weapon.

The Armor of Light (2015)

This documentary follows the journey of Evangelical minister Rob Schenck as he preaches about gun violence in America. He investigates whether it is possible to be both pro-gun and pro-life.

In the Game (2015)

Recipient of a 2017 Christopher Award, In the Game is a documentary film that follows a girls’ soccer team in a low-income neighborhood while examining the impacts of race, discrimination, inequality, and poverty.

American Arab (2013)

A documentary film of the post-9/11 realities of Arab Americans in the United States. The film specifically follows the life of Usama Alshaibi, an Iraqi-American filmmaker.

99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (2013)

A documentary film of the Occupy Wall Street Movement that swept across the nation in 2011.

The Interrupters (2011)

A documentary film following members of the Chicago-based organization CeaseFire in their efforts to end the cycle of violence in their communities.


TED Talks

I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here’s why I left.

Megan Phelps-Roper explains how love and tolerance from others drew her away from the Westboro Baptist Church.

What comes after tragedy? Forgiveness

Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix explain how tragedy brought them together and how they use that tragedy to help others turn away from violence through their organization, the Tariq Khamisa Foundation.

A black man goes undercover in the alt-right

Theo E.J. Wilson discusses how he “went undercover” online to learn more about the alt-right, and how he became more understanding as a result.

How our friendship survives our opposing politics

Caitlin Quattromani and Lauran Arledge discuss how they use meaningful dialogue to address their opposing political views in order to learn about the other’s perspectives and motivations rather than avoid political discussion altogether.

Can a divided America heal?

Jonathan Haidt discusses the basis for the political divisions plaguing America and whether or not we can come back together.

The unstoppable walk to political reform

Lawrence Lessig fights against corruption and encourages Americans to call for political reform.

Nationalism vs. globalism: the new political divide

Yuval Harari discusses how and why politics in America have become so divisive.

How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them

Vernā Myers encourages us to look at and acknowledge our unconscious biases and address them by getting to know the groups that make us uncomfortable.

We need to talk about an injustice

Bryan Stevenson talks about the racial imbalance of our country’s justice system and how it can be linked to the historic racial issues of our past.

America’s native prisoners of war

Aaron Huey discusses the history and struggles of the Lakota people while showcasing his photography from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The Standing Rock resistance and our fight for indigenous rights

Tara Houska reflects on the history of indigenous peoples in America and their resilience and resistance at Standing Rock.

A Parkland teacher’s homework for us all

Diane Wolk-Rogers questions how we can move forward and end gun violence and asks Americans to join her students in the movement.

How we’re priming some kids for college–and others for prison

Alice Goffman discusses the school-to-prison pipeline and its ill-effects.

Color blind or color brave?

Mellody Hobson argues that race is a sensitive subject, and that’s why we need to discuss it.

Immigrant voices make democracy stronger

Sayu Bhojwani argues for more representative politics to embrace the advantages diversity has to offer.

American bipartisan politics can be saved–here’s how

Bob Inglis discusses how bipartisan compromise can help solve the issues we face today.


Other Resources

Building Trust Partnership Handbook

Authored by Daniel Orth from the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, and in collaboration with the San Diego Organizing Project and the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, this handbook was created to help religious leaders build trust and bridge divides between police officers and the communities they work in. To learn more about the Building Trust Partnership, click here.

Discipline Disparities for Black Students, Boys, and Students with Disabilities

Black students, boys, and students with disabilities were disproportionately disciplined (e.g., suspensions and expulsions) in K-12 public schools, according to GAO’s analysis of Department of Education (Education) national civil rights data for school year 2013-14, the most recent available. These disparities were widespread and persisted regardless of the type of disciplinary action, level of school poverty, or type of public school attended. For example, Black students accounted for 15.5 percent of all public school students, but represented about 39 percent of students suspended from school—an overrepresentation of about 23 percentage points. To see the full report, click here.



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