NewsMediaA Year in the (Pandemic) Life

A Year in the (Pandemic) Life

Pax Christi International began its 75th anniversary year facing challenges familiar to peacebuilders and activists the world over. As a pandemic fanned out over the globe—amplifying existing political, social, and ecological crises—it became clear that 2020 would also be a year of historic trials.

As a global movement, Pax Christi International is well-rehearsed in communicating and collaborating across borders of all kind. In the early months of the year we joined consultations in the Holy Land, coordinated training in central Africa, and presented nuclear disarmament testimony to the New York city council. Tis typical breadth and diversity of its work provided a strong foundation as people sheltered in their homes and online.

As Lent arrived, sacrifce and refection took on distinct signifcance. Vulnerable people, including refugees and migrants and Indigenous peoples, faced new threats. Space for civil society shrank as a direct result of the pandemic. Advocacy continued through appeals and open letters, amplifying voices from Greece to Korea to the United States, recognizing the new dangers to human rights and land defenders throughout the world.

Our 75th birthday in March marked a pivot in how the Pax Christi International movement connects, supports, and shares. A swell of responses to the pandemic showed a hunger for shared prayer, advocacy, and community. People turned to Zoom, music, video, and hashtags to reinforce critical messages and essential work. Despite a context of weariness and fear, members produced documentaries and online theatre, held internet vigils and prayed through hashtags, showcasing radical creativity and commitment to the movement.

The coronavirus crisis also brought into high relief the diference between military spending and pandemic response. As countries signed on to ban nuclear weapons in time for the United Nations’ own 75th anniversary, the pandemic precipitated calls for ceasefres and humanitarian disarmament in Yemen, Colombia, and globally.

The second half of the year brought a taste of the “next” normal as Pax Christi International grew in its capability to work with pandemic restrictions. The movement cultivated a new sense of identity online, developing regional webinar series, shining a spotlight on the creative work of young peacebuilders, and leveraging the power of social media for social change. Friends and colleagues from all time zones joined in online actions with a renewed spirit of solidarity and curiosity. While 2020 was a remarkable year for many grief-flled reasons, the courage, commitment, and adaptability of peacebuilders around the world remains the truly extraordinary story.

Erin Green PCI

This article is available in SIGNIS Media. Is peace on earth possible?


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