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17 Quotes About Peace to Give You Strength Today

Library of Congress/ Graphic: Global Citizen

Over the weekend, the US city of Charlottesville, Virginia erupted into racist violence. 

On Friday night, white nationalists holding tiki torches marched through the campus of the University of Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. 

On Saturday, the white nationalists were met by counter-protesters at Emancipation Park and clashes ensued — leading Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency. Later that afternoon, at a mall downtown, a white nationalist and suspected Nazi sympathizer, James Alex Fields, Jr., drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring more than a dozen. 

Take Action: Urge the UN Human Rights Commissioner to Establish a Commission of Inquiry and Investigate War Crimes Against the Yazidi

The nation is reeling from this violence, and President Donald Trump has been criticized by politicians on both sides of the aisle for saying the violence came from “many sides” and failing to condemn white nationalist ideologies.  

The roots of white supremacist violence in the United States run deep, and the history of slavery continues to contribute to immense income, educational, and incarceral disparities for people of color in the US. 

The Global Goals enshrine reduced inequality within and among countries as a requisites for ending extreme poverty by 2030, but this weekend’s events show legacies of inequality and violence against minorities still afflict countries of all sizes and income-levels. 

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Nonetheless, peaceful dialogue and sustainable, equitable development offer an alternative to this weekend’s violence. 

Saturday night, after the violence had subsided, former US president Barack Obama took to Twitter with a quote from former South African President and peace activist Nelson Mandela that perfectly summed up the need for peace in times of violence: 

Today, Global Citizen is bringing you this quote, and 16 others, about peace as the nation endures this trying moment. 

1. “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” — Malcolm X 

2. “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” — Maya Angelou 

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3. “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” — Thurgood Marshall 

4.  “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” — Robert F. Kennedy 

5. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ―  Nelson Mandela 

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6. “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” — Malala Yousafzai

7. “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” — John F. Kennedy

8. “Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” — Dalai Lama XIV

9. "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." —  Mother Teresa 

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10. “It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

11. “I believe our sorrow can make us a better country.  I believe our righteous anger can be transformed into more justice and more peace.” — Barack Obama 

12. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. 

13. "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." — Albert Einstein

14. “It’s my conviction that nothing enduring can be built on violence.” — Mahatma Gandhi 

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15. "If you want peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." — Desmond Tutu 

16. “Peace is never a perfect achievement.” — Kofi Annan

17. “I, too, am America.” — Langston Hughes 

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