A reflection at the 2017 International Day of Peace March from student officer, Casey Cook

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When I think of peace the phrases non­violence and turn the other cheek come to mind. I think of peace as a state where everyone is happy. The actual definition of peace as told by Merriam­Webster is a bit different. It talks about a community in a state of tranquility or quiet, where all can experience freedom from disturbances, and a sense of security.

Look around… we do not live in a peaceful world. And I don’t think anyone has achieved justice in history by being tranquil and quiet. Wars, natural disasters, racism, and sexism all disrupt the peace.

In the end we all want to have a tranquil and quiet community where all can experience freedom from civil disturbances and a state of security provided by laws and customs. I have known this peace, I can walk around campus, my town, the world and not face the same discrimination that my peers face. On occasion I can isolate myself and pretend that I have achieved peace. This is privilege But, the reality for many people is not the same as mine. Not everyone is as privileged as me.

The chant, “no justice, no peace” is one I have heard more than once. It has stuck in my mind as confusing. Why would anyone want to promote a lack of peace? I stood by my brothers and sisters as they screamed those words. And I supported them, but I could not bring myself to say it. It was not until I really thought about the words that I got a deeper understanding.

No justice, no peace. If you can’t walk across campus to go to class without feeling the discrimination and injustice then I will not pretend that the world is a peaceful one. I will not dismiss what has happened to you in lieu of a false sense of tranquility. No peace – not a lack of peace, not saying that peace is bad – but recognizing that we don’t have it here. Many people don’t have it here. The sooner we recognize that our community is not tranquil and quiet – that our community is not at peace – the sooner we can start working for a more peaceful tomorrow.

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