Dayton celebrates the right to peace
By Janell R. Ward
Photo: Peace Week will run Saturday, Sept. 13 – Sunday, Sept. 21; photo: Andy Snow
In 1981, the United Nations General Assembly established an International Day of Peace to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace around the world. This year, on Sunday, Sept. 21, millions of people will celebrate universal peace and community. Peace Week will run from Sept. 13–21, with many events and ceremonies scheduled to take place.
The theme for this year’s peace celebration is “The Right to Peace.” In 1984, The United Nations passed a resolution acknowledging the right to peace as a fundamental right. Dayton joined the United Nations’ Peace Day celebration 10 years ago. Since then, Dayton has served as a vibrant community for peace seekers and promoters.
“Dayton has an extraordinary legacy,” Fred Arment, the Founding Director of Dayton-based International Cities of Peace, said. Dayton successfully aided a settlement that helped end the Bosnian War on Dec. 21, 1995. After the Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito died in 1980, civil wars broke out among three presidential republics. Tension and division continued to grow, and it is estimated nearly 100,000 people lost their lives. In 1995, U.S. President Clinton brought the presidents of three republics together to meet in Dayton. Although the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina was completed in Paris, France, in December 1995, it was in Dayton, Ohio, at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base that peace negotiations were finalized.
Dayton is often known as the City of Peace because of the Dayton Peace Accords.
Arment spoke highly of the integrity, commitment and impact Dayton citizens had upon the leaders during the Bosnian peace negotiations: “When they brought the three presidents to Dayton, the people of Dayton participated and took these leaders to the mall and to the symphony … The Bosnia effort serves to represent one the best of negotiated settlements in the last 30-40 years. Even though the resolution is tenuous, 20 years of peace in Bosnia is 20 years to celebrate.”
The peace movement in Dayton inspired several businesses to engage in the theme of peace. The Dayton Accords led to the creation of the Dayton International Peace Museum and such efforts as the Screen Peace Film Festival. Today, Dayton is host to the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and International Cities of Peace.
The Peace Dayton Collaborative Group, formed in 2013, currently has 45 organizations involved with over 30 events for Peace Week.
“Safety, prosperity and quality of life – these are the consensus values of peace in Dayton,” Arment explained. “The celebration of Peace Week is happening all over the region. There is no central festival because peace is everyone’s right and we all have individual ways to find and work for peace. Every constituency in Dayton is being represented.”
Business owners, politicians, artists, musicians, wellness programs, veterans, Native Americans, peace officers and faith-based organizations all want you to celebrate with them and endorse meaningful peace.
Pass the peace
One of the major events scheduled to take place during Peace Week is the Global Feast for Peace. This feast, which began in Dayton, will reach over 100 cities worldwide this year. A few of the international cities include Sydney, Australia; Cork City, Ireland; Monrovia, Liberia; Mitzpe Ramon, Israel and many others. Since International Day of Peace is on a weekend this year, several religious organizations in the Greater Dayton area will be hosting Feasts for Peace as well.
A peace for you
If you love art and chocolate, you must attend the Missing Peace Art Space and Peace on Fifth, located at 234 S. Dutoit St. They will be hosting a series of events, including an art-making workshop from 10 a.m–1 p.m. and a new launch of chocolate from 12–3 p.m. From 2–5 p.m., you can participate in the making of a vision board to discuss the idea of creating peace.
“Peace is about your connection and respect of others,” London Coe, the owner of Peace on Fifth, reflected. “If I am at peace, then I am not destroying someone else’s right to be at peace, have liberty or be self-determined.”
The Dayton Speakers Bureau, a new community asset started by the Peace Week group, will feature many speakers at branches of the Dayton Metro Library. Topics will include “Dayton’s First People,” “Practicing the Golden Rule” and “An Economy of Compassion.”
Calling all families who enjoy crafts! The Dayton Art Institute will host an art-making event on a Peace-Themed Super Saturday, Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. Come enjoy live music while creating Pinwheels for Peace.
“The museum is a representation of all cultures coming together over time,” Director of Engagement Jane A. Black said. “As human beings, it is important to express ourselves, and that expression can be seen in the museum. The Institute is also a peaceful place to spend time.” At 3:15 p.m., the Dayton Art Institute will dedicate a peace pole that was made by a local family and given to the DAI through the Peace Museum. The pole will be placed in the gateway of Grafton Hill.
The Sikh Society invites you to come learn about their organization. Join members of the Sikh Society (contacts: Darsheel Kaur and Simran Kaur) at the Dayton Gurdwara, located at 2320 Harshman Rd. on Sunday, Sept. 14. They will have an open house from 11 a.m–1 p.m. Enjoy some refreshments while learning more about their society and what peace means to them. At 1 p.m., they will host a common prayer for peace. Afterward, you are invited to a special vegetarian meal called Langar, made by, and for, the community.
“America is made up of different backgrounds, colors and countries,” Simran said. “It is a place where everyone can come together, accept each other and live in harmony.”
The World House Choir of Yellow Springs and Southwest Ohio, along with special guest entertainers, will perform at Grace United Methodist Church on Salem Avenue. This event is in association with the City of Dayton’s Human Relations Council and Welcome Dayton. The concert, called Building the World House: A Celebration of the UN International Day of Peace will run from 6:30–7:45 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21.
You can enjoy stories and music at The Miami Valley Council of Native Americans’ Sunrise Event at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21, at Sunwatch Indian Village/Archeological Site. You will learn about the significance of Dayton’s Five Rivers and the Gayanashagowa or the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois. You can also hear the ringing the Carillon Bells at the Carillon Historical Park on Friday, Sept. 19. The bells will ring in sync with the New York event, held in the United Nations’ Rose Garden.
Several political leaders of Dayton are working hard to continue and pursue the emphasis on peace in Dayton. Judge Walter Rice has been involved with Commissioner Debbie Lieberman on the re-entry program, which helps former prisoners back into the community in a way that will inspire them to be law abiding.
Genevieve Araque is another fabulous example of a local Daytonian initiating and encouraging peace through professional efforts. She first became involved with the International Day of Peace when volunteering at the Dayton International Peace Museum.
“I was really inspired to see there was a proactive movement in Dayton,” Araque said. Recently, Araque began her own marketing and digital design business, Promoting World Peace, which aims to assist human rights organizations in their marketing strategies. “My personal belief is international peace, rather than being an absence of conflict, is a commitment to handling conflict in a nonviolent fashion. For me, this means sustainability, both economic and environmental, is an integral part of creating peace.” Araque has designed logos, organized social media campaigns and built WordPress sites for several companies aiming to establish global clemency and unity.
Additional events include a Human Trafficking Exhibition at the Dayton Metro Library, hosted by the University of Dayton and Abolition Ohio. If you enjoy films, a screening and discussion of the film “Body of War” will be held at three universities. You can even celebrate International Peace Day at home with a family Feast for Peace, watching live Internet broadcast of global events with the 24-hour, Peace Day Global Broadcast stream. Also tune in on the radio at PeaceRadio.us, a Dayton-based radio station, to hear brief statements about peace from around the globe.
Peace Week will run Saturday, Sept. 13 – Sunday, Sept. 21 and will take place all over the region. Peace Day and many Peace Feasts will take place on Sept. 21. For more information, and event dates and times, please visit peacedayton.org.