By Jacklyn Carreon

In a Voice of America broadcast on Nov. 11, 1951, Eleanor Roosevelt said,  “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.” 

Jacklyn Carreon

I’ve seen this quote here and there, but I could only ever remember the last sentence, “One must work at it.” I’m a person who has a hard time only believing and having blind faith. I need to see in order to feel like change is possible. I need to have the physical proof that we will one day, as a whole, achieve world peace. 

As I’ve grown, I’ve realized that asking for world peace is a big demand to ask the world, so I changed who I demanded peace from. I thought to myself that I could shout and shout to the vast world, but what’s the point of asking when I, myself, don’t strive for peace. 

I’ve struggled with the fact that I’m just one person, but through Eleanor Roosevelt’s life she’s shown me that one person can change everything. Through her work as a teacher at Todhunter School, she showed me that I can change my community by talking about what’s going on in the world and educating others on how to help. She taught students at Todhunter about what’s going on in their neighborhood and the problems they faced. 

She helped her community and touched the lives of many through her letters responding to their life struggles. She not only shared her own struggles and motivation, but her compassion. She’s shown peace through what she spent her life doing, whether it was educating the youth, advocating for those who are discriminated against, or pushing gender stereotypes. 

I use Eleanor Roosevelt as my example of my peace hero because she created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which promised dignity, political influence, and economic security to all the people of the world. The declaration entitled equal freedoms without distinctions of race, color, sex, language, religion, political opinions, and national origin. She advocated for this declaration to be adopted, which it was on Dec. 10, 1948. 

She not only brought attention to discrimination and inequality but she made the aspirations of many minorities possible. Eleanor believed that the Declaration of Human Rights was her greatest achievement and stated, “Basically we could not have peace, or an atmosphere in which peace could grow, unless we recognized the rights of individual human beings … their importance, their dignity … and agreed that was the basic thing that had to be accepted throughout the world.”

Eleanor Roosevelt not only pushed for equality, but she made it her life mission to make this goal a reality and has done so much for others. She was criticized by the public and told that women should not belong in politics and yet she’s done more than most public figures can say they’ve done. 

Eleanor Roosevelt was by no means perfect, she was a human and made mistakes, but for a world that is dominated by men, she was a role model for women and girls alike who one day dreamt of equality. She’s changed and redefined what it means to be the first lady. She pushed gender norms by being politically active and involved with the public. 

Although discrimination is still prevalent today, Eleanor Roosevelt’s life and accomplishments have brought me hope that what I do through my community, could help the world become a better place and her Declaration of Human Rights was the first step in creating a world where peace is the standard. 

Jacklyn Carreon is a senior at Loretto High School. This was the winning entry in the International Day of Peace essay contest sponsored by Unity Through Creativity Foundation and the Interfaith Association of the Southwest.