When Justin’s father proposed that we fulfill this dream in Justin’s honor, the slogan took off quickly.
Within the next week the phrase was posted in Facebook statuses, printed on cardboard, hacked onto construction signs and Tweeted with the hash tag JC4WP. Getting the word out was easy. Now comes the hard part: action. In many ways such expansive peace seems out of our reach.
We cannot eliminate all the conflict between people in our school, much less Los Angeles, the country or the world. There is, however, much hope in the phrase that has inspired so many.
At the end of Justin’s funeral service, the congregation sang some of his favorite lyrics in unison, “Let there be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”
Justin fought for equality, fairness, kindness and didn’t let judgment deter him.
There is still unspeakable injustice and violence in the world where there shouldn’t be—we cannot control the actions of others.
What we can control is how we approach these wrongs. We can cower under the assumption that nothing we do is important enough to make a difference, or we can stand up, like Justin, in the face of adversity. Through his smile, his voice and his beliefs, Justin let it begin with him.
Whether world peace means just saying “hi” to someone you would usually ignore or launching an international movement, now it’s our turn to take over.