Help celebrate International Peace Day 2015 in Croydon

By - Monday 21st September, 2015

Aishah Mehmood asks all Croydonians to make our voices heard for a better world

I’m starting this article with a call to action. As founder of Croydon Peace Tree and co-ordinator of our local activities for World Peace Day, I’d like to ask you to visit our Facebook page today and post a message about peace and what it means to you. Don’t Facebook? Well, you can also tweet @CroydonPeace, or and I’ll get your message out there with many others.

International Peace Day is a day of non-violence. It’s celebrated all over the world on September 21st and many people do different activities to celebrate the day. Some have bake sales, sport matches and others, like the Croydon Peace Tree project, collect peace day messages and give them an audience.

The Croydon Peace Tree started in 2012. It arose in the aftermath of the London riots, voicing the hope of the Croydon community that despite the violence locally, we believe in and hope for the better. As a result, since 2012, it has done its best to collect peace messages from many people and display them in various ways.

I just hoped someone would help me pass the message on

In 2012, the Croydon Peace Tree chose to display peace messages on trees in the north of Croydon. I remember sitting at the Croydon Clocktower café three years ago, with present day Council leader Tony Newman (a Labour councillor at the time) and James May (Labour party organiser at the time). I had brought an original piece of artwork with me, to present my ideas. Having no preference for any political party, I just hoped someone would be able to help me pass on the message the best way. Tony Newman and James May were the two who helped me achieve that, as the project that year was funded by the Labour party on a non-party political basis.

Peace Day message from the late Malcolm Wicks, 2012.
Photo author’s own.

We contacted a primary school, business owners and many Croydon politicians, asking them to send their messages for peace day. These included a message from the late Croydon MP Malcolm Wicks.

One memorable peace day message was from Graham Reeves, one of the Reeves brothers whose family founded the well-known locally furniture store, part of which was burned down in the riots. He was a delightful person to speak to over the phone and despite what had happened, he still hoped for something better. I found that inspiring.

So don’t miss out on sending in your peace day message! It could be as simple as ‘Happy peace day’ or explaining what peace day means to you.

Photo author’s own.

It’s a chance for you to join the Croydon community that hopes to spread the meaningful message which is peace. I’m sure many of you would agree that today when we watch the news, violence takes up a dire portion of the news reports. Peace for many of us can be different things. For some. it can be the peace of mind of knowing that those who flee war and persecution are given kindness. For others, it could be as simple as listening to some great music or participating in community-based activities. The point is, though one’s idea of peace may vary, all of us do believe in it.

This is a day to celebrate that. It is also a chance for others to raise awareness of peace day, so it will have a great impact on people of all ages regardless of which place they live on the 21st of September. Will you be sending in a message for International Peace Day this year?

Aishah Mehmood

Aishah Mehmood

Aishah is a lifelong resident of Croydon. With a background in inter-faith relations and Abrahamic Religions, she blogs, writes and tweets for peace, highlighting issues in South London through the Croydon Peace Project. Originally started in the summer of 2012, in the wake of the Croydon Riots, the project aimed to inform local citizens of World Peace Day. The project invited the local community to have their messages of hope, love and peace on trees hung on trees in the local area. Initially the idea received large amounts of support from the Croydon Labour Party, who helped on a non-party political basis. Currently the project is active on Facebook and Twitter supporting the call for peace and informing the local community.

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