Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. This year the theme is: “End racism. Build peace.”

The United Nations has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, and one way is through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

As quoted on the United Nations website: “But achieving true peace entails much more than laying down arms.  It requires the building of societies where all members feel that they can flourish. It involves creating a world in which people are treated equally, regardless of their race.”

As Secretary-General António Guterres has said:

“Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments, and… the linkages between racism and gender inequality are unmistakable.”

Love sees no color

Chris Oyakhilome, founding father of the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI) made a statement saying: “Racism is the manifestation of bankruptcy of the heart. They are void of true genuine love. Love sees no color!”

”Racism is not a spiritual problem, man is responsible for his actions, it’s an inherent problem.” He continues to say: “The world has gone too far and is too knowledgeable to excuse racism, they cannot blame an evil spirit or ignorance, there is more than enough reason to know that there is something terribly wrong. There are things that are worse than racism.. hatred! Hatred is as bad as racism, and it exists in the hearts of men.”

When we witness any conflicts across the world, causing people to flee their homes and countries of origin, we have seen race-based discrimination at borders. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit different communities, we have seen how certain racial groups have been hit much harder than others and affected much worse. As economies suffer, we have seen hate speech and violence directed at racial minorities.

COFI together with the InnerCity Mission (ICM) strives to improve the lives of indigent communities through various campaigns and initiatives so that they can lead productive and meaningful lives.

The UN website continues to offer solutions saying: “We can work to dismantle the structures that entrench racism in our midst. We can support movements for equality and human rights everywhere. We can speak out against hate speech – both offline and online. We can promote anti-racism through education and reparatory justice.”

The UN website goes on to say: “Racism, xenophobia and related discrimination and intolerance exist in all societies, everywhere. Racism harms not just the lives of those who endure it, but also society as a whole. We all lose in a society characterized by discrimination, division, distrust, intolerance, and hate. The fight against racism is everyone’s fight. We all have a part to play in building a world beyond racism.”

We all have a role to play in fostering peace. And tackling racism is a crucial way to contribute. We all envision a world where compassion and empathy overcome suspicion and hatred. A world that we can truly be proud of.