In a week when the world was reeling publicly with two different teenage tragedies - the shooting of 14 year old Malala in Pakistan and the suicide of Amanda Todd in British Columbia, Canada I found myelf silently reflecting and frustrated by the media circus. The public vigils and opportunities to promote political agendas which were all far too late to be of any use to this young girl lost to her family. More recently we have again been shocked by the suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons after being raped and let down by police, so called friends, her school and community.
Amanda, Rehtaeh and Malala grew up in two very different countries. One used the media and internet to promote awareness of the plight that girls in Pakistan and other countries face daily. Their lack of education and right to free speech. Amanda and Rehtaeh were both exploited by those same mediums. Their photographs shared to humiliate and persecute them.
I have heard statements in response to the tragic events affecting both these young girls that further promote violence, persecution and create online harrasment of potentially innocent individuals.
All the hand wringing, vigils and political statements in the world cannot bring Amanada back or change the clock to prevent the shooting of Malala. What we can do, today, is collectively stop being unkind with our words, with our actions, by the way we treat each other. We will not create change until and unless each and every one of us change how we behave to one another.
In 1955 Sy Miller and Jill Jackson wrote a song - Let there Be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin With Me - long before the internet was created and the words "going viral" were part of our common daily verbage the song organically spread throughout the world and was spread by a group of teens. It spread through different cultures and religious groups.
In our journey towards self discovery, happiness, why ever it is you are here let's take the opportunity to spread this same message again - let us spread it wihtin ourselves, our homes, our families, in schools, in the workplace, in retirement homes, on the streeets where we live.
Exercise - Let the memory of Amanda not be about the bullying she received during her all too short life, let her legacy be a statement that will move us forward and create change on a global scale. The Talliban and those who promote hate have no power if they are constantly met by resistance through peace. Let us all show our support for Malala and her bravery - the power of one can be the catalyst for change in the world. Let that change begin with you and me.
Being mindful about how we speak and treat each other. Create a piece of art that reflects connectivity with one another and peace on a global scale. Share it with your family and friends.