Organizational Structure of Strength Through Peace
Strength Through Peace (STP) is a community of concerned people with a shared belief that social, political, and economic justice are essentials of peace and are the best defense against terrorism and war. STP is an affiliate of the Center for Justice, Peace, and Environment, a 501(c)(3) organization for individuals and groups working together to achieve progressive, non-violent social change in Larimer County, Colorado and the world. Strength Through Peace accomplishes its work through a combination of standing and ad hoc committees. The Steering Committee of STP provides organizational continuity and is the community’s final decision-making body. There is no limit on the number of people who may be part of the Steering Committee.
STP meetings take place once per month, and are open to all who share our vision. Decisions are made by those present at the meeting using a consensus-based decision-making model. When considering a proposal, all those present at the meeting are given the opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions in order to help shape that proposal. Ideally, all those present will be able to come to consensus on the final version of the proposal. However, a single Steering Committee member may block consensus if he or she is not convinced that the proposal should be approved. Those who are not members of the Steering Committee may not block consensus.
Occasionally, decisions need to be made outside of regularly scheduled meetings. In this case, a Steering Committee member may put forth a proposal over e-mail and ask for a “yes” or “no” vote. If any Steering Committee member does not have access to e-mail, he or she will be contacted by telephone by the designated e-vote coordinator. If not everyone has voted within the period of time specified by the person putting forward the proposal (generally at least two days), those people will also be contacted by telephone by the e-vote coordinator. If all Steering Committee members reached by e-mail or telephone vote “yes” and none vote “no,” the proposal is approved. The person calling for the vote is responsible for keeping track of the votes received, and for sending the results to the Minute Taker for inclusion in the next meeting’s minutes. If anyone reached votes “no”, the proposal may be considered at a regularly scheduled meeting. At the regularly scheduled meeting, the proposal will go through the consensus process described previously.
To be successful, a proposal must generally have a “champion”, i.e., someone willing to take the lead in ensuring that the proposed action comes to fruition. The champion role can also be shared by two or more people. Champions do not need to be Steering Committee members. Champions are the lifeblood of the Strength Through Peace community.
A person interested in becoming a member of the Steering Committee should be known to current members of the Steering Committee, either through having helped organize at least one event or project sponsored by Strength Through Peace, or through other work in the larger community. Once a person feels ready to make the commitment to join the Steering Committee, he or she should make that desire known to any member of the Steering Committee. That Steering Committee member shall then announce the candidate’s interest via e-mail (or telephone, using the e-vote coordinator’s services) to determine whether any Steering Committee members has any reservations about the candidate. If no reservations are expressed, the candidate will become a member of the Steering Committee at the next regularly scheduled meeting. If reservations are expressed, the Steering Committee will discuss the candidate’s desire to join at the next regularly scheduled meeting, and will come to consensus on whether or not to accept that person as a member of the Steering Committee.