Hugh Taft-Morales, Ethical Action Report Editor
For the sixth year running, the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (EHSoP) is participating in the UN Day of Peace. Peace Day Philly, our local organizing group headed by founder and chief volunteer, Lisa Parker, offers many educational and cultural ways to participate in the celebrations. As their website (www.peacedayphilly.org) demonstrates, Peace Day is actually more like a week of activities that are designed not just to celebrate peace, but to promote it “from the outside in.”
This characteristic of Peace Day is one reason why I contribute hours of time serving on Peace Day Philly’s Core Team and organizing events. I firmly believe that world peace is best nurtured when we bring to our peace-building efforts deep reflection and personal commitment to act in the world with peaceful intent and through peaceful words. By trying to express peace in daily life, and by seeking to act creatively and collaboratively, we can best build peace in our neighborhoods. Peaceful neighborhoods can work on making our cities peaceful for all our citizens. Peaceful cities can foster less militarism in our national foreign policy and greater international cooperation.
Of course, it’s not as linear or as easy as that, but our volunteers with National Ethical Service—the AEU-affiliated NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information—know well, a Culture of Peace is best nurtured holistically. When working to humanize global realpolitik, it helps to connect with peace in many ways—within oneself, with those around you, and with citizens of nations around the world.
This year, from September 18-24, Peace Day Philly will try to empower all people to collaboratively build a more peaceful and just world. The EHSoP will again be a key venue for programs. Some of them include a September 18th Interfaith Peace Dialogue. This event, subtitled “Welcoming Difference in a Multi-Faith, Multicultural World,” offers people of all faiths and practices to share their efforts to nurture peace. On September 20, EHSoP hosts “Peace Within: Meditation for Calmness and Clarity.” This program will include practice of several kinds of meditation and discussion of how meditation benefits schools and workplaces.
Then on Peace Day itself, September 21, I will host our 6th Annual Sing-Along for Peace! I get to crank out some oldie-and-goodie peace songs, participate in Dances of Universal Peace, and introduce young musicians and poets as they share their vision for a peaceful world. We will also have chalk for children to engage in the global initiative “Chalk4Peace” as they draw images and words for peace on the sidewalk with colored chalk.
Keep an eye out for a follow up with photos on this year’s festivities. Plant some seeds of peace in your neighborhood!