A Peacemaker Among Us: Steve Goldsmith LA County’s Peacemaker of the year

Steve Goldsmith with his sister Joan at the MBB 5th Annual
Congress . Steve is the Chairman of MBB’s 6th Annual Congress
in Istanbul Turkey in the fall of 2013.

Steve Goldsmith is a leader among peacemakers. After 30 years in the field of conflict resolution, he was awarded the 2012 Ester Serriano Peacemaker of the Year Award by Los Angeles County. The award honored his work with Centinela Youth Services (CYS) where he served as the executive director for more than 14 years.

We at Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBB) know Steve to be the co-chair of the 2011, 2012, and 2013 congresses and the Los Angeles MBB Chapter organizer. But in addition to working tirelessly for MBB, he has also spent his life working on behalf of justice. He has been a civil rights activist, a union organizer at steel mills, and has worked to help youth heal from crime and violence in their communities.

During his time at CYS, he worked to establish their nationally recognized programs including programs for victim/offender restitution and family mediation to help impact risk factors that contribute to delinquency. He has been a long time restorative justice advocate and served on the Vice President’s Safe Cities Partnership in 1999, the Attorney General’s taskforce on safe schools, and as part of a research group on restorative justice organized by the US Department of Justice.

He has been described by his peers as being passionate and committed to saving the lives of children, one mediation at a time. And as he draws his inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King and the quotation on memorials which states, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Steve sees mediation as a tool that spans from the global down to the community and individuals. Knowing that conflict is an inevitable part of the human experience, Steve sees two solutions” solve conflicts with empathy or with punitive measures such as war and jail. He knows mediation works and works to advocate its use.

However, he also knows that no man is an island. He thanks the many people who helped him through the years work toward peace and justice. “I may have been the drum major, but they were the band,” he says of his work with thousands of volunteers over the years.

Steve plans to use this award to inspire the “current band” to continue to move forward with peacemaking efforts. “Steve is an inspiration to us all. He is always working in the interest of peace and trying to inspire and lead those around him to work toward that end as well. He inspires me every time I work with him,” said Heather Wellman who works with Steve on the MBB congress planning.