The international Day of Peace is observed worldwide on September 21st. This is an observation of nonviolence for 24 hours, including ceasefires, global commitment to a culture of peace. This year the theme is “End racism. Build peace.” 

Here’s how we can make it happen.

We can start by making sure our communities are safe and healthy. This includes ensuring access to quality education, affordable housing, clean air, water, food, and healthcare. It also means addressing issues such as homelessness, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and other forms of discrimination. You can find ways to engage your community through the activities suggested by the United Nations.

Start by asking yourself what kind of peace you want to see.

If we want to live in a peaceful society, we need to make sure everyone’s rights are supported and that power and resources are equitable. We must work together to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and humanized. We should strive to eliminate violence and hate speech. And we must do everything possible to prevent war.

Then, ask yourself who needs to change first.

In order to achieve true peace, we need to start with ourselves. We need to stop thinking only of our own interests and instead focus on the well-being of others. We need to treat each other as equals. We need to respect diversity and recognize that different cultures have different values and beliefs. We need to learn how to listen to each other and understand what motivates us.

Peacemaking is an active endeavor that prompts us to find ways to communicate effectively and to listen actively.  This means actively engaging in acts of compassion and love, especially when it may be most difficult to do so. Although there will always be times when we can only engage in peacekeeping, ultimately we need to strive for creating space for us to empathize with others.

Finally, start with one person at a time.

If we truly want to make a difference in the world, then we must start by making changes within ourselves. We need to take responsibility for our actions and not blame others for them. We need to work toward being kinder to ourselves and others. We need to practice compassion and forgiveness. We need to develop empathy and understanding. And we need to do these things every day.

Take a moment for yourself and those around you. Allow yourself to sit with who you are and the good you put out into the world. Find peace.