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Peace Breeds Inclusion While Anger Brings the Opposite: Choose Peace

by Aleasa Word, FAACT’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

May 2024

Every day, the intensity surrounding the conflicts in Israel, Gaza, and Iran seems to grow. At colleges across the U.S. students have lodged protests while schools try to continue business as usual, and authorities are called in to encourage protesters to disburse if they are “perceived” as not being peaceful or the protests are on private property. How do political discussions connect with our work in the food allergy community? While our primary focus remains on supporting individuals with food allergies and promoting inclusivity, it is crucial to recognize the broader context in which we operate.

When we speak of intersectionality, we acknowledge that people's identities and experiences are multifaceted. A person living with a food allergy may also be deeply affected by geopolitical events, societal unrest, or political discourse. Inclusivity is not just about food safety—it is about creating environments where everyone feels valued, heard, and understood, regardless of their background or beliefs.

The clashes of ideologies and the polarization of opinions that accompany global conflicts often spill over into our personal lives. It is disheartening to witness friendships strained or broken because of differing perspectives on complex geopolitical issues. However, amidst these challenges, there is an opportunity for dialogue, empathy, hope, and a renewed commitment to peace.

As vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for FAACT, my role extends beyond advocating for food allergy awareness. It encompasses fostering a culture of understanding, respect, and unity within our community and beyond. We must recognize that promoting peace is not a partisan issue—it is a human imperative.

It has been said that peace is not merely the absence of conflict—it is a proactive pursuit of harmony and justice. It’s about bridging divides, embracing diversity, and finding common ground even amidst differences. When we prioritize peace, we create safer and more inclusive spaces for everyone, including those managing food allergies.

In times of heightened tension and discord, it is easy to feel overwhelmed or powerless. However, each of us has the capacity to contribute to a more peaceful world, starting with our immediate circles and extending to broader societal conversations. Here are a few ways we can promote peace within our community:

  • Embrace Healthy Dialogue: Ensure that respectful discussions offer an opening where diverse perspectives are welcomed. Create spaces for people to share their experiences and insights, fostering empathy and understanding. Don’t make everything political, make it human!
  • Educate and Advocate: Raise awareness about the intersectionality of issues, including how global conflicts can impact individuals with food allergies. Think about how these conflicts can impact food and medical supplies. Advocate for inclusive policies and practices that promote diversity and equity.
  • Promote Empathy: Encourage empathy by highlighting shared humanity and common experiences. Help others see beyond differences to recognize the universal desire for safety, belonging, and dignity. Deep down, our needs are amazingly similar worldwide.
  • Support Mental Health Awareness: Recognize the emotional toll that conflict and uncertainty can have on individuals, especially children. Provide resources and support for mental well-being within the food allergy community. Pay attention to the signs of distress in youth and young adults.
  • Take Actionable Steps: Engage in initiatives that promote peace, whether through community service, supporting organizations working toward conflict resolution, or participating in constructive advocacy efforts. Stay away from divisive avenues.

At FAACT, our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion extends to promoting a culture of peace and understanding. We know that our collective well-being is intricately connected. Let us reaffirm our dedication to building bridges, fostering compassion, and working toward a world where everyone can thrive. Together, we can make a difference—one act of kindness, peace, and understanding at a time.