On Sept. 22, the city of Fresno, CA passed a Proclamation for a Day of Peace and a Week of Peace in Fresno during their council meeting.
Below is a copy of the statement read by the organizer, Beti Leone, and a copy of the resolution. Throughout the coming year Beti will be finding various ways of spreading the word about the resolution, including a potential contest to see how many families, schools, classrooms, and businesses will post the resolution by the end of 2016.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak on this occasion when Fresno proclaims A Day of Peace and a Week of Peace city-wide. Around the world, there are hundreds of actions to commemorate this day for its spiritual, moral, civic, and societal implications. Yesterday, Sept. 21, International Day of Peace, an important event took place in our U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. 27 Senators voted to stop an arms sale to serial human rights violator Saudi Arabia. One senator said: “The very fact that we are here today sends a very important message to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that we are watching your actions closely and that the United States is not going to turn a blind eye to the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children.” This is one way a Day of Peace can be commemorated.
Today, as an educator, I would like to share some thoughts about peace from two writers: Thich Nhat Hanh and John Dear, both Nobel Peace Prize Nominees.
Thich Nhat Hanh, in Touching Peace, Ch. 3, “Transforming Our Compost,” says: “When we look deeply at a ﬂower, we can see that it is made entirely of non-ﬂower elements, like sunshine, rain, soil, compost, air, and time. If we continue to look deeply, we will also notice that the ﬂower is on her way to becoming compost. . . . ﬂowers and compost “inter-are.” They need each other.
When we look deeply into ourselves, we see both ﬂowers and garbage. Each of us has anger, hatred, depression, racial discrimination, and many other kinds of garbage in us, but there is no need for us to be afraid. In the way that a gardener knows how to transform compost into ﬂowers, we can learn the art of transforming anger, depression, and racial discrimination into love and understanding.”
From and about John Dear, I quote: “How can we become people of nonviolence and help the world become more nonviolent? What does it mean to be a person of active nonviolence? How can we help build a global grassroots movement of nonviolence to disarm the world, relieve unjust human suffering, make a more just society, and protect creation and all creatures? What is a nonviolent life?”
“These are the questions John Dear, lecturer, writer, and Pace e Bene staff member poses in his book, The Nonviolent Life. He focuses on three important aspects on the path toward becoming people of nonviolence – 1) being nonviolent toward ourselves; 2) being nonviolent to all others (including creation and creatures); and, 3) joining the global grassroots movement of nonviolence. After thirty years of preaching a gospel of nonviolence, John says that “to become a fully rounded, 3-dimensional persons of nonviolence, we need to do all three simultaneously. He explores the powerful journey of nonviolence rooted in the Christian vision of love. He also offers discussion questions to help us go deeper into the nonviolent life.“ (Pace e Bene Press, 2013)
To all Fresno parents, students, and teachers, call the Fresno Center for Nonviolence (237-3223), for assistance as you study peace and nonviolence. Also, see Teaching Tolerance (the magazine). Lastly, I offer my services, as one “seed” planted today, to help initiate a wide variety of “Peace Studies” groups in Fresno. Thank you!