Over the coming weeks, Inside Croydon will be running a series of articles that look back to that darkest night of 2011, 8/8. But first, we look forward, with a message of hope and peace from AISHAH MEHMOOD
I am trying to make a change.
While others are pretty much relaxing during their holidays, I’ve been keeping myself busy trying to promote an important message. I’ve been trying to tell as many people in Croydon to take part in celebrating World Peace Day on September 21.
I truly believe everyone in Croydon could benefit from this day. I’m an ambassador for a non-government organisation called Peace One Day. I attended a Peace One Day concert last year held at the 02 Arena. I was so blown away by the message that I became an ambassador for them (I do not get paid).
At the concert, I learned how Jeremy Gilley, a filmmaker, worked hard to establish a day of peace on September 21 each year. His efforts were rewarded when the day was fully established by the UN’s approval in 2001.
Its message is simple. Peace day is a day of ceasefire and non-violence. This year will be the Global Truce 2012, which we hope to be the largest reduction of global violence in recorded history.
I believe Croydon should be apart of it.
Violence comes in many forms, from bullying in schools, to domestic abuse, to gang fights, as well as war. From a personal point of view, I cannot help but identify violence being the cause of the riots in Croydon in August last year.
Violence resulted in people’s businesses being ransacked and looted and many homes being burnt to the ground. As a result of this, violence further tarnished the image of Croydon.
Now, I’m not saying celebrating Peace Day will magic away Croydon’s problems, but I think it is a powerful message which can help reduce further violence.
Since it is nearly a year since the riots affected Croydon, we know the media will be on our doorstep, asking: what has Croydon been doing to overcome the riots? We need something positive to focus on.
During these past couple of weeks, I have been phoning and arranging appointments with MPs and councillors in Croydon. I have received some positive responses already, whereas others have told me although it sounds “great”, they cannot support it as of yet, because they feel they need to look into it more before officially supporting the campaign.
In these appointments, I’ve been showing them this important video:
I think it demonstrates how Peace Day is far from symbolism and that it could most certainly work in Croydon. I believe Peace Day can help to bring three important things to Croydon:
- Promote a positive image of Croydon in the wake of the riots
- Establish relations within the community
- Spread a positive message for the youth in Croydon.
Peace One Day encourages everyone to participate in activities to support the day, thus establishing relations within communities. You can be as creative as you like. Some examples of events can be sports matches or concerts. Or you could just bake a cake and invite some friends round to share it in the spirit of peace.
Peace Day is about doing what you like to do on the day, in the name of peace. I believe peace day can be a chance for many communities or societies within Croydon to support the day.
Another important aspect of Peace One Day is that it provides free educational resources to educators, parents and young people across the globe. This is available for anyone online, and it teaches students about peace day and conflict resolution. There are more than 10,000 educators in more than 172 countries using these resources. I believe schools within Croydon could benefit from using these resources. Schools can also join the “Global Truce 2012 Schools” Network, where schools worldwide support the Global Truce and hope to host an event on Peace Day.
If schools within Croydon could join the schools network, Peace Day could be one of those positive messages we could teach the youth of Croydon about.
I believe Peace Day is something we need to tell and educate all Croydon citizens about. We need to show citizens that when people come together; supporting the day, we can make a change. Therefore, I am kindly asking you to help in any way you can to spread the message, to make it possible within Croydon.
There’s lots of information at the website, but if you want to hear and see more, there is a Peace Festival planned for September 1 in Crystal Palace Park, where the founder of Peace One Day, Jeremy Gilley, will be a speaker.
Remember we can all make a change, but we have to believe it first.
So, what will you be doing on September 21?
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- Elton to headline Peace One Day concert (bigpondnews.com)
- Council cover-up fails to hide crucial missed riots meeting (insidecroydon.com)
- Croydon Council and the cuts: playing a numbers game (insidecroydon.com)