The power of peace

I have had the honour of being nominated for the YMCA’s “Power of Peace” award along with West End Residents Association (WERA). I won’t win as there are so many inspiring people in Vancouver doing impressive work that are more deserving, but still, I am proud to be nominated.

The YMCA describes the Power Peace award as: “… an opportunity to celebrate local individuals and organizations whose work strengthens communities through the promotion of peace. In every community, there are exceptional leaders whose work influences the lives of others. The YMCA Peace Medallion is your way to recognize and celebrate leaders in your community who are dedicated to finding peaceful solutions to violence, conflict and injustice. Peacemakers come from all walks of life and are united by their desire and commitment to create cultures of peace.”

More information about this award can be found at: power of peace

I am proud of the volunteer work that I’ve done with WERA over the past 6 years. Organizations like WERA serve an important function of being advocates for important issues that aren’t necessarily popular, but are nonetheless important and require informed policy responses. In this regard, WERA’s efforts of being one of the key stakeholders in the Downtown Transportation Plan led to WERA’s support of the separated bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge.

There may not be an appreciation that environmentally sustainable transportation advocacy is part of a peaceful culture given that heated debate on the Dunsmuir bike lane, perhaps the opposite is the dominant perception. However, there can be a compelling argument that protecting and enhancing the rights and safety of pedestrians and attempting to promote healthy and sustainable transportation is central to a peaceful culture because it forces us to interact with those around us. Not to go to way out there on this point, it is interesting that such great practitioner of peace, as Gandhi was such big walker.

WERA has been active in promoting a responsible, respectful and informed public discussion on important issues and these dialogues serve as a cornerstone of a peaceful civic culture. Rather than increasing the rhetoric on issues, which is a simple method for garnering attention, WERA has held many public forums that have engendered a high standard of public discourse with the goal of arriving at solutions that are based on sound evidence and reflect best practices.

WERA has focused on projects that make a difference in resident’s lives. From constructive participation in coalitions, promotion of community art projects, community gardens, community forums, community base celebration and the dissemination of information, WERA has been part of civic engagement process that does lead to more peaceful and cultural harmonious society.

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