Peace, like charity, starts at home

Image: A demonstrator in Rotterdam, during the Black Lives Matter demonstration on June 3, 2020. Wouter Engler via Wikimedia

June 16, 2020

A message of solidarity from PAX

George Floyd is not the first civilian casualty of police brutality or systemic racism in policing in the United States or elsewhere in the world; nor was he the last. However, his unnecessary and abhorrent killing at the hands of a police officer has indeed been the spark that has ignited the latest generation of civil and human rights activists in the United States and globally to take action.


The protesters in Minneapolis, New York, Washington and Los Angeles and the expressions of international solidarity in the Netherlands, Kenya, Syria, India, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and many other countries underline that racism is a global problem. It reminds us that we should not be complacent; we must listen and reflect on our own – possibly unintended – prejudices and blind spots. People of color, friends, allies, we listen to you: being non-racist is not enough – to be an ally, we must be actively anti-racist. We need to educate ourselves about the trauma of people of color going back generations.

…and speak up

Racism is something that we, as a peace organization, must proactively fight against. We must continue to improve our own policies and practices. To contribute to improving human security for all. At PAX, it is our goal to protect civilians in armed conflicts by supporting, mobilizing and strengthening individuals and communities in efforts to achieve lasting peace. In conflict-affected communities, this means concentrating on building trust and strengthening peacebuilding activities across ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious and other socio-economic divisions, as well as between local communities and international peace and security actors, such as UN peacekeeping operations, including UN police. But as United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt noted nearly 80 years ago, “Peace, like charity, starts at home.” We must live up to our ideals by protecting and promoting human rights worldwide, including in our own organization and our own homes. In this aim, we can’t be silent. We join our voices to stand in solidarity with peaceful activists in the US and around the world in the fight against racism and its vile consequences. Black rights are human rights and black lives matter!

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