My name is Kira, and I’m a 20 year old from the United States. I am lucky enough to live in a country that has not seen a war on its soil since 1945. However, I still see and feel the effects of global conflict every day. The aftermath of 9/11 has shaped my life since I was 5 years old. I have friends who have lost siblings and cousins to a war overseas many of us weren’t sure why we were fighting. Every day on the news I see violence in other countries, and injured and displaced people struggling to live in war. I have friends in those countries that I worry about each time I hear of a new attack.
However, I have hope. I see a world in which war is not a primary option, but a last resort. I see a world in which global armed conflict lives only in history books, painted as unjust, foolish, destructive, and immoral. I strive every day to create a more peaceful world by living and loving with empathy, acting with kindness and understanding, learning all I can about the world, and standing up for what I believe in. I try to remind myself every day not to be a bystander, and to speak out against violence. We can create this peaceful world. But I need your help.
I need men to understand that compassion is not weakness, asking questions and admitting when you are wrong is not stupidity, and winning a fight does not prove you are right. I need you to invite everyone to the table, and listen to all perspectives. I need you to pull those below you up, and level the playing field. I need you to learn and value empathy, and consider how your actions will impact others.
I need women to make their voices heard. I need you to refuse to be silenced, no matter what obstacles stand in your way. I need you to have confidence that your perspective is vital, that your skills are innumerable, and that you can help end violent conflict. I need you to have empathy and hold onto it, and use it to inform your perspectives.
I need you to hold perpetrators of violence accountable. I need you to hold yourself accountable in working for peace. I need you to ask questions and pursue knowledge so that you can understand, and then act. I need you to realize that our differences as humans are so superficial and so minute, and I need you to help illustrate this to others.
We are going to create a peaceful world. And we are going to do it together.
Age 20, USA