So, this is it. My next few days are going to be focused on staying calm and getting into the right headspace for Sunday’s race. (And I can imagine that you'll all welcome the break from hearing from me almost weekly.) :0) Over this past year, my hope has really just been that people will think about the violence that happens both locally and globally because of power imbalances, and that people will engage in actions – either personally or more broadly – that promote justice and peace. I just read a story yesterday about Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old girl in Pakistan, who was shot by a Taliban member for speaking out on girls’ rights. Two men stopped the school bus she was on, got on and asked who Malala was, and when the other kids identified her, shot her in the head and neck. All because she spoke publicly about a girl’s right to get an education.
But the truth is that we don’t have to look as far as Asia, Europe, or any other continent to hear these stories. They happen here, in Canada. Across all cultures, income levels, races, and ages. But, here's the thing that I really want to say: violence does not have to be an inherent part of our social structure...because violence is a choice. So, I guess if I could leave a final message it would be to ask people to think about your power and privilege and what you choose to do with it. I personally believe our great hope lies in making purposeful peaceful, equitable, and just individual choices. Our hope lies in our individual daily choice for peace over violence.
With that, I leave you with the words of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu:
If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.
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