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Let us all play our part on world peace day

Mahatma Gandhi

Fifteen years ago, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously designated September 21 as International Peace Day, a time for members of the human family to reflect on how we inter-relate in the global community.

In a “connected” world, where we can easily see the consequences of destructive conflict, this observance takes on an even greater importance.

The observance offers two levels of involvement. The UN is inviting global citizens to reflect on the theme “Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace”, which is geared to secure the future of mankind by 2030. There is also a hands-on level, offering an agenda to apply locally.

Mahatma Gandhi reminded us all that we each have a role to play as we address the challenges of life, when he urged everyone to:

Be the change that you want to see in the world.

The Mahatma’s perspective is personally empowering in the context of Peace Day. While much of the lack of peace that we witness is beyond our direct control, we are being encouraged to make some difference where and when we can. There are a number of ways that we all can claim that power:

1, Let peace begin within ourselves. With a healthy regard of self, we learn to appreciate others

2, Coming from a place of peace, we sow those “seeds” in our families, workplaces, etc

3, Peace does not imply agreeing on everything, but disagreeing with reverence and respect

4, Knowing that we each benefit from an extensive network of other people, near and far, our peaceful input profits all involved

5, Understanding that relations with ourselves and others require constant attention; we avoid taking anything for granted

Here are some practical suggestions for International Peace Day:

• Take some quiet time — 15 minutes or so — to reflect on the significance of peace in our lives

• Reach out directly to a member of our extended family, whom we have not been in contact with for an extended period of time. Optimally, make direct contact or a phone call, but at least text or e-mail

• Reach out to any neighbour with whom we have limited contact

• Set up some time during this week to have a social interaction, over coffee or lunch, with someone with whom our relationship may have been strained

The media are constantly full of examples that there is an urgent need to “give peace a chance”. It would be easy to despair over what we witness. However, Gandhi pointed out that all of us can make a difference.

On International Peace Day, let’s remind ourselves that we can each play our part, every day.

•This joint statement was endorsed by the Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, Anglican Bishop of Bermuda; Martha Dismont, Family Centre; Glenn Fubler, Imagine Bermuda; the Reverend Betty Furbert, presiding elder of the AME Church); Charles Gosling, Mayor of Hamilton; Dave Horan, principal of Warwick Academy; Kimberley Jackson, Mirrors; Gladwin Simmons, Spanish Town; Lucinda Spurling, filmmaker; Gavin Smith, Chewstick Foundation; Senator Jeff Baron, Minister of National Security; Walter Roban, Shadow Minister of National Security