Today is International Peace Day. Every year on Sept. 21, the United Nations (UN) and people all around the world celebrate the International Day of Peace. For this Wednesday’s celebration, the UN will support the push toward world peace with the 2016 theme, “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” As a former UN employee, this day resonates with me probably more than most. The UN inducted the peaceful holiday back in 1981, devoting the day to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.”
A much needed message at a much needed time.
So, what does peace mean to KAE?
Peace means understanding. Understanding that although you may not agree with someone’s point of view, their experiences matter. Understanding that although you may not be able to relate to one's experience, empathy must still exist. With everything going on in the world today: attacks overseas, unrest, poverty, the shootings of innocent men and women by those within the police force, the shootings of those within the police force, and the added burden of those within the force who must work that much harder to prove that they are not like their corrupted colleague, people are getting angrier. And understandably so. Anger is a natural reaction to inequality, to death, to pain, to dishonesty, to grief- our own or our peers. We cannot criticize anyone for their anger however, those who are anger must also understand that is IMPERATIVE that “we do not sin in our anger”, Ephesians 4:26.
Let’s use the meaning of today to engrave our hearts with KAE. Let’s forgive ourselves and others for the times we believed living in a bubble was enough. The times we disregarded another person's point of view. The times we spoke with little knowledge of what it was we were actually speaking about. The times we chose to be unkind. To be truly civilized, we must appreciate and welcome conversations. Conversations that are open to change and improvement for the betterment of ourselves, our circles, and essentially our world. As Mother Theresa profoundly stated, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
As KAE continues to serve as a reminder that we belong to each other, join with us in choosing KAE and displaying kindness in the midst of each conversation, opinion, thought, and interaction. We can change our world. This is possible. We just need to remember that we are all on the same side, regardless of what the media or your personal opinion/peers try to tell you. God deemed it necessary for each and every one of us to exist and for that reason, I will love and respect you. I will not choose neutrality for the sake of avoiding conflict or emotional conversations. One of my favorite quotes is from Woodrow Wilson who said, "Neutrality is a negative word. It does not express what America ought to feel. We are not trying to keep out of trouble; we are trying to preserve the foundations on which peace may be rebuilt."
I have chosen kindness. I have chosen KAE. And with this choice, I will make it evident in the way I speak, act, dress (shop KAE!), treat others, and treat myself that kindness towards others is my mission and my motive.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” ― Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness