Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

August 24, 2012

Organizers planning local Peace Day events

TAHLEQUAH — “Love thy neighbor” is a core teaching for many religions that share a common thread with Christianity.

The organizers of Peace Day - Friday, Sept. 21 – share the same goal: for people to love and respect one another, animals and the planet.

Volunteers are sponsoring the third annual Peace Day for families at Norris Park, with activities, music, a speaker and a parade. The celebration will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m., with the Peace Parade at 7:30 p.m.

“This event is for families and people of all ages. It’s not a peace rally, but a time to reflect on the importance of peace in our lives and our world,” said Mindy Hendrix, organizer of Tahlequah’s Peace Day events. “It’s about coming together as a community and realizing that people all around the world are uniting in love, taking down the walls we put up, focusing on our similarities and respecting our differences. It is to inspire and empower communities to work toward a more peaceful and sustainable world each day.”

Peace Day was born out of her interest in helping children, and it grew from there.

“To me, peace isn’t as much about trying to change others’ opinions or beliefs as it is about changing ourselves, beginning with inner peace,” she said. “If we can begin with inner peace, we can have peace in the home, which can radiate into towns, cities, nations and around the world.”

Hendrix invites area residents to come out, have fun and connect with all the other groups around the world that are also celebrating Peace Day.

“It’s about peace for all – people, animals and the environment in association with the United Nations International Day of Peace, and in conjunction with the Roots and Shoots program of the Jane Goodall Institute,” she said.

Roots and Shoots is a humanitarian program that encourages youth to take action toward making the world a better place, Hendrix said.

“Peace must begin in our hearts,” she said. “It’s overwhelming to think about one person doing something for world peace, but if you think about thousands of groups like ours reaching out, eventually they’ll touch.”

Peace is also about hope, Hendrix said.

“It’s hope in ourselves, hope in our children. It is about having positive thoughts and intentions rooted in love and compassion,” she said.

Jane Bond will coordinate circle dancing; Traci Clark will help make Peace Crane Origami; and Jodie Rosener will organize the streamers.

Volunteers are welcome and can attend the next meeting Tuesday, Aug. 28 at noon at the Iguana Cafée, or may contact Hendrix if they’re interested in helping with the peace meditation prayer tent, peace dove paper puppets, large peace doves for the parade, peace-weaving, face-painting (paint and brushes are provided), music, storytelling, refreshments, circle dancing, and setting up tables and chairs.

“We would like to have a few small animals children can pet, if anyone has rabbits or a lamb,” Hendrix said.

New this year will be a children’s art display.

“I’m handling the children’s art work, but need someone to set up art the afternoon of Peace Day, along with flyers and advertisement,” Hendrix said.

Children are invited to bring art for the Art of Peace display, expressing what peace means to them. Parents may contact Hendrix for instructions.

Kids are also invited to drop by the Unitarian Church, Wednesday, Sept. 12, between 5 and 7 p.m. to make Peace Day art.

“We will have a drop-by children’s craft time. All children are welcome,” Hendrix said. “We would like for these crafts to be out of recycled materials. We need long sticks, paper, yarn, white or light material for peace flags, oatmeal containers or anything else for instruments.”

Local charities are urged to participate, and recycling bins will be in use to help promote sustainable Tahlequah.

Susan Semrow will be speaking, and her daughter, Mallory Semrow, will read a peace poem.

“For those who can’t attend and want to participate, light a candle and pray or meditate about peace,” Hendrix said.

Volunteers and friends are invited to see Jane Goodall in Fayetteville Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. the University of Arkansas, she said.

“We’re excited about that and welcome others to caravan together for this event,” Hendrix said.

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