Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, people from all over the world have come together to connect in positive ways. Today, on the International Day of Living Together in Peace, we would like to highlight how our Network perseveres during this time by spreading peace through virtual people-to-people connections.
Red Internacional de Estudiantes por La Paz (“International Network of Students for Peace” in English) is one Partners Chapter dedicated to promoting peace in their communities. Its members are a part of a hemispheric network of youth leaders based in Chiclayo, Peru and advocate for nonviolence through volunteerism, community engagement, and leadership development.
Throughout COVID-19, Red Espaz has hosted many Zoom sessions highlighting their volunteers’ efforts to encourage peace. One meeting discussed the impact of COVID-19 on humanitarian efforts in helping refugees, while another examined the effects of the pandemic on social inequalities.
Partners' Minnesota-Uruguay Chapter has always encouraged cultural understanding, friendship, and peace between the state and country. They have historically achieved this by hosting an annual meeting and asado (cook-out) to discuss the accomplishments and connections formed during the year.
Although the Chapter is not able to hold their event in person, this year they will have it virtually. Virtual events such as these have not only helped keep a routine, but in the Minnesota-Uruguay Chapter’s case, it has been essential in celebrating the peaceful relations that have been developed across cultures. The event will be held on May 16, the same day as the International Day of Living Together in Peace.
Similarly, the New Jersey-Haiti Chapter is also holding an event promoting cultural peace on May 16. The Partners’ Chapter will be celebrating Haitian Heritage Month by virtually coming together to share Haitian culture through music, dance, discussion, and more. This event is important to foster peace and awareness between differing cultures.
Finding peace within oneself has become even more integral in everyday life due to the stress and negative effects of the pandemic. The results of social distancing - isolation, loneliness, stress, and fear - as well as general stress about the outbreak itself, can cause people’s mental health to worsen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That is why groups like our Brasília, D.F., Brazil Chapter have taken to social media to offer coping mechanisms to take care of one’s mental health. The Chapter also provides a free mental health clinic for those who are experiencing high stress or losses during this time, such as job loss, stress, and anxiety of juggling work, and family, health, and wellness concerns.
COVID-19 has forced the world to take a step back and evaluate situations from a new perspective. Even in the midst of the panic and chaos associated with the crisis, many have come together to promote compassion and peace in a time when it is needed the most.
As Maricy Schmitz, the president of our Washington, D.C. Chapter said, “This can be a time to enhance relationships and engage with local communities… Facing the coronavirus crisis together makes us grow stronger, wiser, and more resilient.”