By RENEE FITE
At a time when the country is involved in seemingly unending war, the act of showing one another a little kindness in the name of peace is being embraced by a number of local residents.
Community members are invited to participate in family-friendly Peace Day activities this Friday, Sept. 21, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Norris Park.
Activities will focus on peace, and include a parade, a speaker, music art and pets. The Franke Lee Band will perform from 6 to 8 p.m.. A Peace Parade around the park will be at 7:30. People are encouraged to make their own peace doves to bring to the parade. Directions are online at Janegoodall.com/peace-day.
“Organizing this event is important for our community and children, because it allows us to come together in an atmosphere of love and hope,” said event founder Mindy Hendrix. “It nourishes our hearts, and will hopefully inspire each person to search for inner peace and find their own ways to bring peace to their family, homes, workplace and community.”
Volunteer Dana Henson-Smith said she wanted to be involved so her daughter, Olivia, 10, can be a part of spreading peace in Tahlequah.
“It brings a sense of community and awareness that needs attention,” said Henson-Smith.
Family is a large focus of the event, which continues to grow in its third year.
“It’s good to keep peace in front of families and children,” said committee member Jane Bond. “The world is never going to change until we figure out what peace means. It has to start with individuals understanding what peace means.”
Peace springs internal and flows to the external, Hendrix said.
“I see peace in two different ways: inner and outer peace. I think both are important,” Hendrix said.
Outer peace in a home can cultivate inner peace in a child, she said.
“Inner peace in an individual can radiate to those around them, which in turn, can create outer peace, yet the simple word ‘peace’ is not so easily defined,” said Hendrix. “For me, peace is a feeling, and feelings are hard to describe in words. However, I would describe it as a feeling of love and centeredness with God. Not so much a feeling of happiness, but a feeling of contentment.”
Randolph Friend, a founding member of the Tahlequah Peace Day event, said it’s difficult to get people to think about peace.
“In church, growing up, we could think about ways to think about sin and evil deeds and hurtful things, but when they asked us about a blessing or something good, no one had any words,” Friend said, “[It’s] like we were rewarded for all the bad things we could think of. And it seemed to be what they wanted to hear. This will give us some happy and peaceful things to think of, like how to be a blessing to others.”
Volunteers Robin Jackson and Dena Coleman will emphasize both inner and world peace by constructing two tents. They will invite visitors in to participate in peaceful activities.
A tie-dyed teepee for world peace will be Jackson’s part of the event.
“I think the community involvement, educating each other and sharing unconditional love is important,” Jackson said. “[My tent] will have globes around the outside and I’ll invite the children to come in and ring the harmony bowl.”
Coleman said Peace Day is important because it brings awareness that peace starts within.
“Friday evening, I’ll be guiding a peaceful meditation with visitors that incorporates yoga,” Coleman said.
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