International Peace Day is tomorrow – Thursday, September 21, 2017. In Jamaica, peace is a big issue. As the Dalai Lama and others have said – “peace” does not just mean “absence of violence.” It is much more than that, and we need to work on it – together.
The Violence Prevention Alliance (see contact details below) has presented the theme (the Jamaican patwa version), which was chosen by young people. It is Together for Peace: Watch yuh flex, no badda vex. For those of my readers not versed in patwa, this means roughly: Be careful how you behave, don’t get angry. The focus will be on our children – and especially at a time when children are often at their most vulnerable: going to and from school.
Jamaicans are being asked to wear blue for Peace Day, tomorrow. It’s one way of showing you care.
There will be a lot going on. Some events have already been under way, including peace marches in Manchester.
In Kingston, the Exed Community College and The Mico University College will host Outdoor Peace Symposiums between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Schools and others will take a “pause for peace” from 11:55 to 12:00 noon (tune in to RJR), with Reverend Gary Harriott of the Jamaica Council of Churches. Three East Kingston schools will be particularly involved: Norman Gardens Primary and Junior High School, Rennock Lodge All Age School and Windward Road Infant and Primary School. Mount Salem Primary School in St. James will also be the venue for community sessions.
The Peace Management Initiative (PMI) will continue its good work on the ground in the Rockfort/Mountain View area with meditation sessions and therapeutic workshops. The Jamaica Constabulary Force will hold meetings with School Resource Officers to discuss School Safety and Security Plans, and with the Traffic Division to look at Safe Travel for our schoolchildren.
In our major hospitals (Kingston Public (KPH), Bustamante Children’s Hospital, Spanish Town Hospital, St. Ann’s Bay Hospital, May Pen Hospital and Cornwall Regional Hospital) there will be midday talks and interactive sessions with patients.
The parish of Manchester is not to be left out. The Manchester Peace Coalition is organising a series of activities: Community Peace Marches; a Civic Ceremony; and a Candle Light Ceremony at Mandeville Greens on Sept. 21st.
And Peace Day messages will be broadcast on large screens across the island!
#JoinTogether #PeaceDayJamaica #Keepchildrensafe
REMEMBER: To report child abuse or a missing child, call 1-888- PROTECT
For more details and contacts for any and all of the above activities, please contact: Violence Prevention Alliance (office) 702-2079 (website) https://www.vpajamaica.org/ Kaodi McGaw, Research Associate, Violence Prevention Alliance, (cell) 898-5505
I will end with a quote from John Lennon, who for all his flaws was a great advocate for peace:
“If someone thinks that peace and love are just a cliché that must have been left behind in the 60s, that’s a problem. Peace and love are eternal.”