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Being an Advocate for Peace

People often ask me if I get tired or depressed by the work I do. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that some days are harder than others. On the harder days, it takes more energy to stay focused and on task. But most days, I relish our dirty little secret: doing work for others, and meeting likeminded people while doing it, is so fulfilling that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

When I was young, I knew I wanted to change the world. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it or even where for that matter. I wasn’t sure what that change would be. And to this day, I don’t know the depth or the breadth of my impact, since so much of what I do is immeasurable.

What I do know is that, since Darfur began, I’ve been part of a humbling and inspiring community built around ending mass atrocities and rebuilding communities affected by this violence. At one point, someone asked me about my career, and I responded simply: “This is not a career, it’s my life.” I will always be an advocate for peace.

It has not always been easy helping build a nonprofit from the roots up. There have been insecure financial times and sacrifices that all our team members made. But on those days that are harder than others, because it’s tiring to end mass atrocities or because we have to make tough decisions, I remember Guisma’s smile. I remember the faces of students who listen intently during our presentations. I remember all our refugee-led programs that focus on Tools For Peace for the camps. And I remember the incredible people who also work as hard as they can to bring peace to a world that sometimes seems overrun with violence.

This holiday season, we will see tree ornaments with peace signs and listen to choirs fill halls with sounds of joy and cheer. I ask that you to invest in the world by participating in #GivingTuesday and sharing #Gifts4Peace with your family and friends. Perhaps you can donate or post a message through email or on social media. I know these acts will fill your heart and keep you grounded.

Peace, Katie-Jay

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