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Asheville, NC Celebrates with a Peace Pole

Posted by Erin Bechtol

by Dr. E. L. Halsey  // Part of the Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions 

Veterans for Peace Chapter 99 and the WNC Peace Coalition hosted an International Day of Peace celebration in Asheville, NC. A Peace pole was erected and dedicated, Congresswoman Susan Fisher read a proclamation of peace based on words from Julia Ward Howe to an audience of forty or fifty people, and Youssef Nutcha and his wife, Rachael Joy, were recognized as our Peacemakers of the Year. These activities were interspersed with music, meditation, dance, a peace poem and the sound of church bells ringing from the nearby Basilica.

The event coordinator, Rachael Bliss shared the following comments. “Let it be known today that we’re dedicating this Peace Pole to Asheville, an International City of Peace. I have high hopes for this pole, planted amidst plants that are alone single botanical miracles, but together create mingled smells, textures, contrasting colors for the entire city to see. May this pole long linger in this spot, reminding us that everyone of us are miracles, all of us deserve respect, equality, justice, homes, food to sustain us and water to cool and clean our bodies. First we will find peace within. We will smile more and bring peace to those we meet here and on our streets. Then we will pass that Peace into our city and county, infecting them with contagious harmony. And from there we can melt our guns into bicycles, our bombs into homes and our hate into love. The Elder and Sage Community Gardens Peace Pole. May it nourish our souls whenever we visit.” The four-sided Peace pole says, “May peace prevail on earth” in Korean, Spanish, Cherokee and English.

The City of Asheville also issued the following proclamation:

“Whereas, in this day of progress and century of light, too many community residents have lost their lives to wars and acts of violence at home and around the globe;

Whereas, citizens have a duty to assemble, to discuss and make their desires for peace known to elected leaders in order to heal our planet of grief and horror. Their desires should now be heard, and answered as never before;

Whereas, parents have taught their children charity, mercy and patience, it is inconsistent to later tell them to go injure or kill other parents’ children elsewhere in the world or in our communities;

Whereas, our earth and this community have been devastated from countless wars and acts of violence decade after decade, not only harming and killing people who are inhabitants, but also polluting our globe’s waters, air and land that sustain our continued existence, causing its people to cry: “Disarm, disarm;”

Whereas, the sword of murder is not the balance of justice; blood does not wipe out dishonor; nor violence vindicate possession;

Whereas, our workforce has often forsaken its service to our community in order to answer the summons to war, our governments must now leave their addiction to violence and destruction, by instead honoring Peace, and celebrating it on the International Day of Peace, turning this current culture of war and violence into one of peace, equality, respect, compassion and love;

Whereas, we must always honor and commemorate those who have died in service to their homeland, the County of Buncombe now resolves to honor their lives by committing our lives to peace and justice, as brothers and sisters and as fellow species to other life on this delicate planet;

Whereas, in the name of the future existence of humanity, the following organizations earnestly join efforts and energies to work for lasting peace: (23 Groups listed here);

Whereas, all civilization is in danger of annihilation from intentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons, it is now imperative for all governments, local and national, to promote alliances with other nations and cultures in the amicable settlement of international differences, with the purpose of creating the great goal of lasting justice and peace, freeing up resources needed for Buncombe County to improve education, human relations, healthcare, infrastructure and incomes of its citizens;

I, Brownie Newman, Chairman of Buncombe County Commission, do declare September 21, 2018 as International Day of Peace, and urge all citizens to commit their lives to solving disagreements nonviolently in their homes, communities, their states, our nation and the world.”

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