Over 40 years ago the United National General Assembly established the International Day of Peace. In 2001 they unanimously clarified the day as being dedicated to strengthening the ideals of peace among all nations and peoples of the earth. This year’s Day of Peace theme is End Racism. Build Peace.
It is a common practice in the US is to declare days in recognition of this or that. For years I have found that confusing when it comes to something like peace. The declaration of twenty-four hours dedicated to something such as cease-fire and non-violence, begs the question: Is it then okay to be horrid and hateful during the other 8,736 hours in a year? I know we must start somewhere, and one day is better than no days. I feel we need to be clear about our intention: we want more! We are called to do everything within our power to bring about its fulfillment. We need to be firm and not accept anything less than its fulfillment lest we give in and tolerate something less than real peace. We must be willing to go full out for all peoples – all creation – to experience the components of peace.
This year, the United Nations is acknowledging that achieving true peace entails much more than laying down arms. It requires the building of societies where all members regardless of race can flourish.
It has long been a stand within Centers for Spiritual Living that we are called to create a world that works for all. This involves creating a world in which there is equity, in which all people are treated equally, regardless of their race, gender, orientation, age, ability or other unique attributes. We envision all people, all beings, and all life as expressions of God.
Our Global Vision doesn’t just suggest that we should be nice to one another. It clearly states that we envision “A World That Works for Everyone”- a world of peace and harmony, enfranchisement and justice – and that this is our work to do. It doesn’t suggest that mediocre is okay. It calls us to commit to it and lean into its fulfillment!
As Secretary-General António Guterres has said: “Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments …” In the presence of such forces, collective peace is not experienced.
We each have a role to play in fostering peace. Tackling racism and other demonstrations of prejudice are crucial and require our collective action.
In furtherance of the United Nations dedication to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples, the Secretary went on to say, “We are called to dismantle the structures that entrench racism in our midst. We can support movements for equality and human rights everywhere. We can speak out against hate speech – both offline and online. We can promote anti-racism through education and reparatory justice.”
Stay tuned as we explore local efforts to promote anti-racism and sustainable peace in our homes and communities.
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.