International Day of Living Together in Peace – 16th May 2021
“I truly believe that the only way we can create global peace is through not only educating our minds, but our hearts and our souls.” Malala Yousafzai
The following blog was written by Social Value UK’s Digital Marketing, Communications and Events Assistant, Maddy England. Social Value UK continues to show a commitment to accounting for social value, thus working to decrease inequality and improve wellbeing
We realise that whilst it is important to discuss topics such as this, it is crucial that we use our platform to amplify the voices of those who have experienced inequality, rather than blindly talking over them. So if, like us, you want to continue to educate yourself further on the inequalities society currently faces straight from the source, please see the key resources listed at the end of this blog post.
The UN recognises living together in peace as accepting differences and having the ability to listen to, recognise, respect and appreciate others, as well as living in a peaceful and united way. This day emphasises inclusion and tolerance with the goal being the uniting of all communities, religions, and races.
Whilst most have probably grown used to hearing about the destruction COVID-19 has caused, it is essential once again to bring it up. In a year where stay at home measures have come into play, types of violence overwhelmingly affecting women and girls, have intensified drastically – most notably domestic violence. Moreover, COVID related deaths have massively highlighted systemic racial inequalities within our country, with Public Health England reporting that BAME individuals are 50% more likely to die as a result of the virus.
‘What has become very clear since the beginning of the pandemic,’ said King’s College Hospital sexual health and HIV consultant Michael Brady, ‘[is that] where inequalities already exist, COVID-19 has both highlighted and exacerbated these inequalities.’
Seemingly the pandemic has brought issues such as these to the forefront of the conversation. However, obviously, the pandemic has not been the only stressor in current years. In June of 2020 the #BlackLivesMatter movement soared in media attention again, following outrage at the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and Michael Brown (to name just a few). Figures showed these protests to be the largest movement in global history; in the UK alone over 210,000 people protested in the beginning weeks. The gravity of the movement has highlighted how deep rooted these issues run within our communities and the absolute need to have global conversations about the fatal impact of systemic racism.
Earlier in the year, we also saw the tragic death of Sarah Everard – which sparked a nationwide conversation about the safety of women and a need for reform. Thousands headed to Clapham Common for a peaceful vigil and #ReclaimTheNight started to trend on Twitter, in an effort to commemorate Sarah and to symbolise the need for the increased protection of women. Instead of this, tensions ran high and the vigil ended with the violent removal of protesters by the police force.
In light of all of these instances of inequality, it must be highlighted that a key and recurring factor is the need for peaceful protests as a vessel for change. Without the right to protest, issues such as those discussed do not have the same ability to gain attention and followers – which is essentially what leads to change. Hopefully, the campaigning we have seen in the past year, coupled with the structural inequalities brought to attention as a result of COVID-19, clearly demonstrate the need for all encompassing change.
In essence, living together in peace is not just the absence of conflict, it requires understanding, education and cooperation. In order to live in peace together – issues such as systemic racism and sexism cannot be tolerated (these topics are certainly not exhaustive, it is important to also address other inequality issues such as homophobia, religious marginalisation and class). As contributors to society, we have the power to forge a more understanding, equal and caring world to live in. We believe peace IS possible IF we tackle these issues head on – let’s keep on working towards it.
If you want to hear more about what we are doing to create a better world, head over to our Twitter.
The Social Value UK Team
Below are some important take away resources to further educate on this topic:
Books, articles and resources:
Petitions to sign:
UK charities to support: