Pope Paul the VI said, “If you want peace, work for justice.” When I started law school a million years ago this was the first thing I saw hanging on a 30 foot tall banner in the library. I saw it every day for three years and I’ll never forget it or what it came to mean to me.
Though my career and life has taken some twists and turns, what it has come down to for me is working for peace through justice. Yes, I practiced law for a while and what more direct way to work for justice? I got pretty good at convincing people of things – some things mattered more, some less. But over the years the conversation boiled down to same arguments. The climate never really seemed to change. More and more people fought. They didn’t listen. There was less and less peace, and maybe less justice.
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I saw systems in crisis, lack of resources, and convoluted policies. I met people on both sides so entrenched in stands and platforms and policies that they seemed to forget what they were all for – people. In a world where with so many advances designed to bring us together, the world has been drifting farther apart. There is more division, more fighting, more walls. It is easy to forget that we are all people first, with often more similarities than differences.
Recently I made a change. Instead of fighting for change, I began writing for change. I began to put ideas out there and tell both sides of the story. Now, instead of writing to win, I write to explain, to tear down walls instead of build them up. I write to bring perspective, to create safe space. I write to bring voice. I write to open conversations that have been closed for too long.
So now, I write for justice. Justice that I believe lies in equity, fairness, opportunity, and consistency, all easy to overlook without connections to those who are different. Because if peace comes from justice, it does not come from everyone thinking and acting the same. Peace comes from people thinking and acting together, differences and all. And the only way to come together is to keep trying to put the conversations out there, to build bridges of thought, to tell the stories, to highlight the connections. I write for peace.