Jessica Brown did a lovely video of me reading this poem out in Hanns Park.
Click the photo to view the video.
Peace is not just a feeling of calm.
It is not just the ability to feel safe as you go through life,
nor to remain centered in chaos,
nor is it just a feeling of wholeness
in a very broken world.
In these times,
it is very hard to be a pacifist.
It is hard to not become your enemy.
To give into anger and fear
and let it consume you
and turn you into your worst self
would be the easy route,
but no one ever said standing up for peace is easy.
Standing up for peace in a world
that justifies violence from the moment of birth,
whether that is corporal punishment or war,
is not easy, nor will one always be met with respect.
Many who have stood for righteousness
were taken from us too soon.
Peace begins on the inside
with how you treat yourself.
Be kind to yourself in these times,
so that you may extend your kindness to others
who are suffering and being targeted.
Peace means respecting one another’s humanity,
and learning to love one another
rather than leap into hatred.
It means having difficult conversations
with those who are opposed to you.
Peace does not, however, mean laying down,
accepting injustice, and staying silent
or passive in the face of evil.
It does not mean failing to protect life.
It means refusing to cause harm or kill.
Positivity can be its own tyranny,
like putting a band aids on a broken leg.
Neutrality can be deadly in the face of oppression,
so listen to one another,
rather than silence the voices of the suffering.
Let us lift one another so that we may all have peace.
Only by coming together
to address the issues that divide us,
and most of all taking action to change this world,
may we truly have wholeness, calm,
and true peace in the world for all peoples.