Nobel Peace Prize receivers must be unique individuals with hearts turned toward peace for humanity.
I revisited the speeches of a few Nobel Peace Prize recipients, and watched videos of Acceptance Speeches. The passion in their voices, the gentleness of their spirits and their salient belief in brotherhood and sisterhood radiated as commonalities. These humanitarians spoke of poverty and empty stomachs. And their steadfast hope for peace in all places, spaces and races. www.nobelprize.org.
“Alfred Nobel’s dream of a world, where peace prevails and wars disappear, has not been achieved yet, but the hope to make it come true has grown large, and the effort to achieve it has doubled. Despite great battles, the survival of the human race is the clearest expression of mankind’s yearning for reconstruction, not for destruction, for progress, not for regression and death,” opined Tawakkol Karman in 2011.
“The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes — and we must,” asserted Jimmy Carter in 2002.
“As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our lives will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled, we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs,” lamented Elie Wiesel in 1986.
“I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits,” proclaimed Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964.
“But I am grateful and I am very happy to receive it [Nobel Peace Prize] in the name of the hungry, of the naked, of the homeless, of the crippled, of the blind, of the leprous, of all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared, thrown away of the society, people who have become a burden to the society, and are ashamed by everybody,” declared Mother Teresa in 1979.
But, how are speeches about peace connected to residents of Scioto County? We can affect, influence and make a difference in the small corner of the planet where we go about our daily lives. Small changes amalgamate and become big changes.
How can I be a catalyst for change in my neighborhood, my community, my township, my school, my county? How can I bring about social equality for all nationalities? How can I do my part to promote peace?
One example is the recent change in the governance and leadership in Portsmouth, the seat of Scioto County. When citizens band together and lift their voices for righteousness, change occurs.
Another example is the aftermath of the opioid crisis. The local health department, law enforcement, treatment programs and citizens came together to battle the destructive disease of addiction. County, state and federal agencies communicated and developed a vision, a purpose and a plan for past, present and future.
And my third example is elementary, middle and high schools in Scioto County that celebrate Black History month and cultural diversity programs and projects in classrooms. Change happens with awareness, knowledge and understanding of others. And empathy.
Children are not born racist — it is a learned mindset of discrimination and prejudice taught by vocal adults or ignored by silent adults.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9 English Standard Version.
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.