'Shaping Peace Together' marks international day


'Shaping Peace Together' marks international day

Sunday, September 20, 2020

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The International Day of Peace will be celebrated tomorrow, September 21 under the theme 'Shaping Peace Together', and will be marked with virtual activities organised by Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) and its members.

According to Professor Elizabeth Ward, chair of the VPA, this year's theme encourages everyone to stand together and shape peace. She voiced that, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic people should come together and spread compassion, kindness and hope.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the weaknesses in our societies as marginalised communities suffer more than others from the pandemic's effects. Discrimination is on the rise and conflicts and violence in the homes have increased because of the pandemic,” she shared.

Professor Ward gave feedback from the health staff and community-based organisations that there is growing violence in the homes which is spilling over into the hospitals.

“Violence starts 'when mouth mash up'. When quarrelling starts in confined spaces due to COVID-19 restrictions, violent injuries result,” she noted.

The VPA chair, however, emphasised that conflicts can be resolved amicably, and put forward the following tips:

• Stop speaking in anger when tempers flare. Step back and take a little time to cool off before continuing the conversation. Arguing out of anger is never constructive and often leads to lashing out.

• Consider whether an issue is really worth fighting over. Often, in homes where there's stress or unresolved issues, any little thing can turn into a blowout. Don't get caught up in arguments over trivial things.

• Separate the person from the problem. Try to look at the heart of the matter objectively and discuss it, rather than make things personal.

• Understand that the goal is to resolve the conflict in a satisfactory way, not to win the fight.

Turning to virtual activities planned for the day, Professor Ward said that the VPA will be hosting a Facebook Live session on 'Music in the Homes', in collaboration with the Child Protection and Family Services Agency.

The session will showcase drumming pieces by wards of the State who have benefitted from the Drum Therapy Project, which was recently implemented in six children's homes. It is scheduled to start at 6:00 pm on the VPA's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/vpajamaica.

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