How will you honor Peace Day? | SierraSun.com

How will you honor Peace Day?

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; One person can make a difference that reverberates around the world. Imagine a single day with no acts of violence. Imagine a day when weapons are put down in every war zone across the globe. If individuals, communities and governments commit to one day of peace, imagine the long-term possibilities.

The international peace day movement began 30 years ago. Based on the vision of independent documentary filmmaker Jeremy Gilley the movement has gained significant momentum over the last decade. In the late 1990s Gilley documented his meetings with leaders and community members across the world to discuss an official day of peace. In 2001 all of the UN member states voted to adopt an annual day of ceasefire and non-violence to coincide with the International Day of Peace, Sept. 21.

and#8220;The more violence I saw the more frustrated I became about not being able to do anything about it,and#8221; said Gilley about the inspiration behind his initiative to create an annual day of global ceasefire.

Today, Gilleyand#8217;s UK-based organization, Peace One Day, continues to work toward eliminating global violence. His work has inspired governments, schools, businesses, nonprofits, spiritual organizations and individuals to initiate events as varied as silent marches and meditations to community art projects to arms handover ceremonies. The results include positive changes and millions of people engaged in peace day activities.

Afghanistan is a Peace One Day focus area. In 2007, nearly 1.2 million Afghan children received polio immunizations. This was possible because the Taliban agreed not to harm or block access to the 14,000 health workers and volunteers involved in the Peace Day campaign. On Peace Day 2008, the UN Department for Safety and Security recorded a 70 percent reduction in violent incidents in Afghanistan. Food can be delivered and resources are transported on peace day. Today Peace One Day is calling for global truce.

There are approximately 10,000 teachers using Peace One Day education materials in over 175 countries. Millions of people around the world are expected to participate in peace day this fall. Where will you be and what will you do on Sept. 21?

Get involved

Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. Itand#8217;s a day to put down weapons, a day to commemorate peace and a time to make peace with yourself and others. Join the Tahoe Truckee Peace Project to play a role in this yearand#8217;s events.

People of all ages, nonprofits and businesses will come together for Peace Day in the Truckee Regional Park, 4-8 p.m. on Sept. 21. Live performances by Angelika, Chris Spheeris, Emily Tessemer and Ziva will fill the air, and many organizations including the Family Resource Center, the Lutheran Church, Tahoe SAFE Alliance, Slow Food, Tangled Roots Creative Writing, and Trails and Vistas will play a role in the event by facilitating peace themed activities and sharing their vision of peace. Chief Red Hawk will emcee the event.

and#8220;Jeremy Gilleyand#8217;s work has inspired us to collaborate and advocate for peace. Families, friends, coworkers and neighbors are invited to come together in a safe setting and share their thoughts, creativity and vision for peace,and#8221; said Andy Hill, director of For Goodness Sake, a non-denominational spirituality center in Truckee.

For Goodness Sake will host a series of events leading up to a 12-hour Meditate for Peace Marathon and Peace Day on Sept. 21 (see sidebar), including a presentation Sept. 17 with Immaculee Ilibagiza, a 1994 Rwandan genocide survivor. Ilibagiza and seven other women spent 91 days in a cramped bathroom of a local pastorand#8217;s house. Ilibagiza entered the space a vibrant, 115-pound university student with a loving family and emerged weighing just 65 pounds to find most of her family members had been brutally murdered. She will talk about the healing power of prayer and religion that aided in her survival.

Sept. 21 is a day to pause, reflect and connect. How will you honor peace? Visit http://www.peaceoneday.org, http://www.truckeetahoepeaceproject.org or call 530-550-8981 and visit to get involved.

and#8212; Submitted by the Tahoe Truckee Peace Project to aedgett@sierrasun.com