PEACE DAYton plans community events

On a day remembered for violence and hatred, Dayton is focusing on peace.

A group of 50 local organizations have spent the past two years planning dozens of community events that will lead up to this year’s global celebration of the United Nation’s International Day of Peace, Sept. 21.

“Every constituency in Dayton is represented — from veterans and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to the universities and health care businesses, peace and service organizations, artists and musicians, neighborhoods and faith-based groups, as well as local politicians and area leaders,” said Fred Arment, convener of PEACE DAYton. Instead of hosting one central event as has been done previously, the committee has encouraged organizations to come up with events unique to their particular audience.

“The beauty of it is that each part of our community can celebrate and contemplate what it takes to be a more peaceful community in their own way — whether they are artists or immigrants,” said Arment who is also co-chair of the Peace Cities Team for the International Day of Peace NGO, which works with the United Nations on its September events in New York.

Dayton’s large events will take place at Sunwatch, the University of Dayton, the Vietnam Memorial, the Dayton Art Institute and other venues. Participants in a Dayton Speakers Bureau will include individuals who have advocated peace-building and A Global Feast for Peace, conceived in Dayton and now celebrated in 100 cities around the world, will be held at a projected 30 local venues.

“We’re hoping that people will also want to host a Feast for Peace in their home or neighborhood,” Arment said. The gathering can range from a formal lunch or dinner to a group potluck and might include a speaker, prayer or meditation on peace.

Program topics will range from compassion and interfaith cooperation to the Dayton Peace Accords. Some examples:

  • In the spirit of Peace Week, the downtown Dayton Metro Library will present the Royal Court Burundian Dancers and the opening of an exhibit on Human Trafficking during Urban Nights on Friday, Sept. 12 . Topics to be addressed in fall library programs throughout the system range from Dayton’s legacy of peace-building to Dayton’s first people and Welcome Dayton.
  • The Dayton Art Institute will help kick off Peace Week on Saturday, Sept. 13, with a themed Super Saturday Family Day, featuring drop-in art-making for families and music by Jim McCutcheon, followed by the 3 p.m. dedication of its new Peace Pole at the entry to the Grafton Hill neighborhood where children will plant their Pinwheels for Peace around the Pole.

“Our hope is that the Peace Pole will serve as an ongoing reminder of what’s been accomplished, and what still remains to be accomplished, in bringing peace to our world,” said DAI’s director and CEO Michael R. Roediger.

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