Celebrate peace

Patricia Coia is a retired Washoe County middle school teacher and a local peace activist.

Patricia Coia is a retired Washoe County middle school teacher and a local peace activist.

For more information about International Day of Peace, call Lisa Stiller at 232-2823 or Pat at 348-7847. Email info@renopeace.org or go to www.renopeace.org.

“Why celebrate Peace Day?” This was the response from a neighbor of mine when I told him about the upcoming Peace Fair on Sept. 21. “There’s a horrible war going on,” he shouted. “The economy’s in a shambles, and the climate is changing life as we know it on the planet. What’s to celebrate?” His reaction surprised me and gave me pause. I realized that his feelings might well be those of many people during these uncertain times.

As I perused the website www.internationaldayofpeace.org of the International Day of Peace, I was reminded that “peace” is not a static quality, nor is it just the absence of war and violence. Peace is a state of mind, an affirmative attitude that demands ongoing effort and must be nurtured and celebrated.

A bit of history: The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations in 1981. The first Peace Day was celebrated in 1982, and in 2002 the General Assembly officially declared Sept. 21 as the permanent date for the International Day Peace. In creating the International Day of Peace, the United Nations devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged all of mankind to work in cooperation for the goal of developing cultures of peace and communities of hope.

Peace Begins at Home

So, in spite of the dark shadows of war and violence, concerns about the economy and the climate, we can take positive, proactive steps toward a more peaceful world. We start by trying to make peace in our own personal relationships. Also, we can gather together community groups, artists and neighbors to share, communicate and learn from one another. These are just a few of the ways we might contribute to the ongoing effort of growing a community of hope and a culture of peace.

Reno will celebrate its own International Day of Peace with a Peace Fair in Wingfield Park. The Fair will provide opportunities for dozens of individuals, community groups and organizations to have booths and tables in order to communicate and share their work. There will be a program of entertainment, as well, including a blues band, folk dancers, singers, artists, storytellers, and more. In addition to recycling bins, there will be receptacles for food donations for the Food Bank and book donations for local students. My family and I are looking forward to the Peace Fair. (The above- mentioned neighbor is going, too!) Come join us!