CSKC brings Peace to Campus

On the sixth anniversary of the poignant event of September 11, 2001, which sparked the war the United States is currently fighting, many peaceful spirits united to reflect on the meaning of peace. The event, (Being) Peace in Our World, held at the Coretta Scott King Center, was enlightening, refreshing, eye-opening, informative, majestic, and, well, peaceful.  A table of light ’n’ splendid (non caf-affiliated) refreshments as well as a display of home-made thongs were readily available to all participants. The speakers included Jarens Banks, BarbaraO, Steve Fryburg, Sandra Piedrahita Sanchez of Colombia, and Ras Calhoun, each very well-versed in peaceful living and action.
The panelists were asked three main questions: Is world peace possible? How do you define peace? And, is it obtainable in your mind? BarbaraO took us off the beaten path and into our inner light to find the peace residing in our souls, enabling us to glow and illuminate others who are in the dark. With all the violence in today’s society, we could use some peaceful thinking, and according to Sanchez, Columbia desperately needs it.  “It’s hard for me to talk about peace because I’ve never experienced it before. In my country, we are so war-driven that people don’t dream of being poets, engineers, musicians etc., they only aspire to be military fighters,” she said.
One of the many causes of national militaristic mindsets is lack of peace education. The vast majority of schools in Colombia, the United States, and abroad only teach the history of was.  But when it comes to history of peace, the closest we get is learning about Gandhi and civil disobedience. War heroes such as Attila the Hun, Napoleon Bonaparte, Ulysses S. Grant, Genghis Kahn, and Alvin York get etched in history’s stone, yet “veterans like Desmond Doss (WWII), who refused to kill anyone because of religious views and thus received a medal of honor, are forgotten,” Fryburg informs.
The general consensus of the conference was that peace must first be wanted. “We have this view that violence is inevitable,” says Steve Fryburg. “All you have to do is say, ‘I want peace.’” Yet he realizes it’s not that easy. “If peace were easy, we would have world peace. The hard part is stopping yourself from strike-back violence and asking, ‘what caused this?’” he assures.  Before hypothesizing world peace, the word “peace” must be defined, and if the discussion came to any kind of conclusion, it was that peace is different for everybody. “Peace is coming together for some, for others it’s a spa, a butterfly fluttering by, or for some, it’s when your children stop fighting,” states Jarens Banks.  Even the smallest forms of peace are very important.  “It’s very essential to greet people with smiles, hugs, positive words and an overall peaceful demeanor,” advises Ras Calhoun.  “The small pieces together create the big picture,” says Sanchez. Banks builds upon this idea: “if you do one peaceful thing, other people will see it, feel more at peace, and in return perpetuate the peace chain.”
Peace manipulators cannot be forgotten though. In Colombia, the subject of peace has been manipulated by the president, Álvaro Uribe, who preaches peace but practices war. Sometimes the amount of disbelief of peace’s possibilities can overwhelm all hopes of its success. “Peace better be possible,” declares BarbaraO. “I believe it’s our purpose in life, so be as deep as you really are.”
If you missed the event and are interested in attending a similar one, there are a few to choose from. This Sunday, an Open Spaces Dialogue (Citizens’ Convention) is being held at the Dayton Convention Center, focusing on how to make Dayton an official City of Peace. Admission is free, and food is provided. For more info, call 937-227-3223 or visit  www.daytoncityofpeace.org. There is also a Peace One Day Festival next Friday from 4:00-9:00 p.m. at the Courthouse Square, 3rd and Main, downtown Dayton, featuring live music, speakers, and various booths. For more info, email info@daytonpeacemuseum.org.