By Sherry Simon. Peace Fest was a little different this year due to COVID restrictions, but it turned out to be a beautiful day with several families dropping by to enjoy the diverse activities offered by different organizations. Beneath the trees of the Central High School National Historic Site, parents could walk their kids through seven stations that highlighted the Pledge of Nonviolence. Lessons were shared on respecting self/others, communicating well, listening, forgiving, recreating nonviolently, respecting nature, and acting courageously. Once they got each station checked off, they could get free Peace Week t-shirts for all family members.
Other activities included sidewalk chalk, learning how to make origami peace cranes and painting peace rocks. Snacks, ice cream and bottled water were also provided.
Thanks to the many volunteers who worked to make things come together this year. Peace and social justice groups including Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice, Pax Christi Little Rock, WAND, and Community of Christ Church came together to make this event possible. Special thanks go out to Bob Estes for his tireless efforts in promoting and organizing Peace Fest each year.
This is Peace Week, those days around September 21-the UN International Day of Peace, when many peace and social justice organizations come together to promote peace and nonviolence in our city, state, country and world. This year, I have had the good fortune to be involved with many folks who have been planning and carrying out events that project this message of peace to others. These are not programs attended by thousands or even hundreds of people, and in years past, I have been saddened by the small numbers who decide to attend these scheduled events. In spite of that, however, peace organizations keep celebrating Peace Week because the message of nonviolence and respect for our fellow man is powerful and much needed in our divided world.
This Peace Week has been different for me than in years past and I’d like to share my thoughts on the beauty of what I’ve observed. In several situations, I have witnessed interactions between individuals that were clearly soul connections, moments where the peace of Christ was shared. Interestingly enough, it was always in a moment of great pain or great joy. I believe with all my heart that this is the little known secret of Peace Week. It isn’t in the numbers of people who attend or the meetings, panels, concerts, or gatherings that have been organized. It is in the process, the one-on-one sharing of hearts that brings about something bigger than all of us. That’s when the miracles happen. That’s when souls are touched. That’s when the peace beyond all understanding comes into the world.
Many thanks to all of the peacemakers that just keep coming back every year. You know who you are. I am proud to count myself among you.