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YMCA Peace Week 2014

Peace Week

Build Community. Act for Peace.

“...Peace has many dimensions. It is not only a state of relationships among nations. We cannot expect to live in a world of peace if we are unable to live in peace with those close to us – even those who differ from us.... The responsibility for peace begins with each person, in relationship with family and friends, and extends to community life and national activities.....”
– from World Alliance of YMCAs Statement on Peace, 1981

Just as health is more than the absence of illness, peace is more than the absence of violence and conflict.  Peace is the presence of conditions like fairness, inclusion, empathy, security, and respect for diversity. Peace is also the ongoing work of building and rebuilding these conditions.

As part of Peace Week, the YMCA awards Peace Medallions to individuals and groups who, without any special resources, status, wealth or position, have demonstrated a commitment to building peace within their community or communities elsewhere in the world. 

Peace Medallion recipients can be artists, environmentalists, activists, parents, students, community groups and so on. What they all have in common is that they enthusiastically contribute their time and talent to making local and global communities more peaceful places to live.  When people are included in their communities and have opportunities to be heard, contribute and shape the way things work, they tend to relate peacefully with others.

What kinds of actions create PEACE?
P   Participation: getting involved and encouraging others to get involved in community-building activities
E   Empathy:  listening and understanding diverse perspectives to create a sense of belonging for all
A   Advocacy:  making the case for positive change in the community
C   Community:  building and strengthening community connections and capacity
E   Empowerment:  inspiring others to foster peace and helping them gain the skills and tools to succeed

Acts for peace tend to grow outward, creating ripples through the whole community.  An act for peace may affect only one person directly—but it may show many more people what’s possible.Peacemakers challenge and inspire others to pursue acts for peace.

How can you “act for peace” daily? Think, say and embody PEACE:

  • Volunteer to help organize a citizenship ceremony for new Canadians
  • Speak up when you or someone else is being mistreated
  • Get to know your neighbours and fellow community members
  • Stop when you see a demonstration, rally or walk. Ask a participant about the cause
  • Have a talent or skill? Donate it to a person, organization or cause
  • Find out when your municipality is holding community meetings and consultations and participate

Building Peace in the Community
There are many ways that everyone can participate in peace-building! You can think, say and embody PEACE:

Join the #ymcapeaceweek social media discussion and add your own #actforpeace ideas

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