On Monday, May 22, 2017, three members* of the (GAP) Gandhi Alliance for Peace (Campaign Nonviolence supporters) ) attended a morning assembly at Lincoln Elementary School in Salt Lake City. This was the school chosen for the 2017 GAP gift of books about peacemakers and living nonviolently. GAP maintains an ever expanding list and collection of such books. Each year the faculty of an elementary school is invited to order from the list a $1,000 gift of books for their school.
Now we were invited to attend Lincoln School’s peace assembly, where thanks were warmly expressed. The 2nd grade children opened the program by lining up on the stage and each child announcing—in a different foreign language— “PEACE!” Hearty applause was the response of the nearly 500 children present.
The kindergartners were up next and sang a song to more applause:
“The world is a rainbow of many colors, many people.
You’ll be you. I’ll be me. That’s the way it’s meant to be.
The world is beautiful when we live in harmony-eee!”
The 6th grade junior coaches showed a slide show about peace which they had put together for an inter-school contest, and they were happy to tell us it won a prize. Then each one shared at the microphone something they had learned about Gandhi. The Gandhi Rap followed: “Be the change you want to see!” Over and over to a catchy beat! With 500 voices it was awesome. Those 500 present represented the full spectrum of possible skin tones. Lincoln School serves a very diverse population. One group on stage assured everyone that all our souls were the same color.
The next group had a unique offering; before each recess they chant a pledge of happiness at recess. The pledge includes the words, “We don’t need equipment to be happy.”
Songs led to the conclusion of the assembly. “This land is my land. This land is your land” seemingly emphasizing inclusion of all the refugee children at Lincoln and then a request to ALL to take the words seriously by loving our country. The last songs were “Peace Be with You” and, quite vigorously rendered, “If I Had A Hammer.”
As the children filed past us on the way to lunch we had a chance to wink/ smile/ wave to them. A 5th grader hung back to be last so he could tell us we need A Bridge to Terabithia, a really good book! We offered special thanks to Nancy Busath, kindergarten teacher, and prime organizer of the morning assembly. And enthusiastic thanks to everyone for a rousing good program about peace!
* Deb Sawyer