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Peace Breaks Out
by Kendra Baker | Sep 16, 2013 11:16 am
Posted to: Arts & Culture, Music, West River
People of all ages, races and cultures spent a peaceful four hours on Sunday enjoying free music, arts and crafts, food and kite-flying in celebration of the 8th Annual United Nations International Day of Peace.
Around 100 people, and one dog, attended the event at West River’s United Nations New Haven Peace Garden, located at the intersection of Ella T. Grasso Boulevard and Legion Avenue.
Musical artists, like Kode Red and reggae group I.N.I.T.Y., entertained the crowd, while children ran around in circles flying kites. People stopped by the ice cream truck parked out on the grass to grab some free ice cream, while others grabbed some free fresh fruit and barbeque at the food stand.
There was a table where kids could make beaded jewelry, sand art and blow bubbles, and another where people could make their own customized buttons. Other tables provided attendees with informational packets and posters about healthy eating, dental care, banking, and involvement in peace work.
Jennifer Huebner, Connecticut chapter coordinator of the not-for-profit international education program PeaceJam, helped run the organization’s table at the Peace Day event.
Huebner explained to Peace Day attendees what PeaceJam is all about and how Nobel Peace Prize winners—like Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama—wrote the program’s curriculum, which encourages young people to commit to positive change in various aspects of life.
“The Nobel Prize winners identified 10 issues that need work, and kids jump on those,” said Huebner. “The issues we’re working on a lot right now is ending racism and hate and breaking the cycle of violence, and the kids are actually coming up with projects to change things in their neighborhoods.”
Wisdom Addo, coordinator of the PeaceJam’s Ghana chapter West Africa Centre for Peace Foundation (WACPF), joined Huebner in running the PeaceJam table at the Day of Peace event.
Addo, who lives in Ghana, joined the organization after deciding that he wanted to do peace work. He did some research on the internet and came across PeaceJam. He has been involved for five years.
“The joy of PeaceJam is that people of different backgrounds come together to share, have fun, be inspired, and jam,” said Addo, who added that members of his PeaceJam chapter dance a lot. “It’s part of our culture.”
Both Addo and Huebner pointed out that an important factor of PeaceJam is for its members to have fun and enjoy themselves as they strive to better themselves, their communities and the world around them.
“It’s about kids caring about something, studying to figuring out what they can do, and then doing it together and bringing their projects to our conference,” said Huebner. “They have a fabulous time at the conference—there’s a lot of music and games—but they also present their projects to the Nobel Laureates.”
The PeaceJam Foundation not only teaches young people how to peacefully strive for positive change, but encourages them to do so.
“It’s not just talking about it—it’s doing it, and having a wonderful time doing it,” said Huebner, “and finding out that there are hundreds of other kids like you.”
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The peace festival was great this year. I think there were more like 200 or 250 people throughout the course of the day. The bands were great. The food was great. People were in high spirits. West River is leading the way in community building and creating change throughout the neighborhood…and the city. Congratulations to the organizers of this year’s festival.
Thank you New Haven Independent for covering the 8th Annual International Day of Peace. The West River Neighborhood Service Corporation continues this tradition of bringing attention to our desire to promote peace within our community and around the world. So often we hear about he violence in our neighborhoods and the West River community appreciates the opportunity to highlight this annual peace event.
Thank you to PeaceJam who are mentioned in the article for attending and maybe next year you will participate in the planning of this great event. And thank you to KODE RED, I.N.I.T.Y Band, Boogie Chillun, and Anointed…...and to all our sponsors, neighbors and friends who attended.