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Peace Begins With You

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR  by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

Peace is best described as freedom from conflict, violence and war. Yet, as we look around our communities and our world today, we cannot say that we are at peace. Brutal conflicts exist in nearly every part of the globe. Yet, the struggle to bring about a world in which peace reigns must continue and begin, I believe, in the hearts and minds of women.

Twelve years ago when I conceived the organization named “A World of Women for World Peace,” I believed that the end of human conflict was not only necessary, but that it was possible.  In my heart I knew that women, who bring life into the world, could reform the societies in which we live.

Last month on September 21st women and men around the world were asked to observe the “International Day of Peace,” which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981. On that day, people were requested to acknowledge the need for a world without war, and to study issues that are related to peace such as ending hunger, providing educational opportunities for children and empowering those who are powerless.

In reality, we have no viable choice other than to seek a peaceful world. The human and economic costs of war are enormous.  The victims of conflict include children who are killed by land mines, and women that are raped and widowed.  The senseless suffering that war and conflict cause must cease. We cannot allow it to continue.

In my travels throughout the world and across our own country I have met with legions of women that understand the depravity and turmoil that war and human conflict causes. They understand that disputes can be resolved with understanding and compassion rather than with weapons.

It was Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the most progressive first ladies to ever live in the White House, who implored the world on the eve of World War II to turn away from the destruction that war brings.

Urging women to take the lead in resolving conflict, she said “If we want peace, we must fight for it. If our civilization is to survive, our people must turn to love not as a doctrine, but as a way of living.”

Mrs. Roosevelt understood the important role that women played in creating a peaceful world. If she were alive today she would be standing with me, and with women who   understand that our very survival as human beings depends on them, and the role they play in the pursuit of peace.

We must live the words of the young female Middle Eastern activist, Malala, who after being shot in the head and left for dead by terrorists said, “I truly believe that the only way we can create global peace is through educating not only our minds, but our hearts and our souls.”

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