This week Americans are speaking out about their growing concerns over the violent situation in Syria, and it appears that the country is once again divided with regard to the proper response by the United States government. In addition, we are reminded of the biggest attack on American soil with tomorrow being the anniversary of the atrocities committed on September 11, 2001.
In times like these, we may ask how we can ever attain the goal of world peace. Some philosophers would answer this question by saying that all forms of peace start from within the individual and emanate outward into the world at large. It is appropriate that we should be asking this question in September, as September 21st is the “International Day of Peace,” also known as “Peace Day” worldwide.
The International Day of Peace began in 1981 as the result of a resolution by the United Nations. In 2002, it was decided that September 21st would become the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. Each year on this date, the Peace Bell is rung in New York at the United Nations headquarters. The Peace Bell was made from melted down coins that were donated from children in six continents. It was a gift to the United Nations from Japan as a reminder of the human cost of war.
When the U.N. created this day, one of their goals was to establish this day as one of global ceasefire and non-violence. However Peace Day has blossomed into something that supersedes political goals. Millions of people now commemorate Peace Day by searching for peace not just politically, but also within their own personal lives.
Celebrations and activities for International Day of Peace range from acts of prayer and meditation to to art exhibitions to interfaith peace ceremonies. People of various cultures and religious backgrounds observe vigils to commemorate this day.
This year, you can celebrate the International Day of Peace a week early. The Bloomington Human Rights Commission is organizing an event to commemorate Peace Day on Monday, September 16 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Bloomington Civic Plaza, located on 1800 West Old Shakopee Road.
Author and former news anchor Joan Steffend will talk about her project, “Peace Begins With Me,” as well as her book, “Peace in, Peace Out.” Steffend’s book looks at ways in which we can achieve personal peace, and how we can radiate this peace to the outside world. If you would like to attend this event, please make a reservation by calling 952-563-4948. For more information about Joan Steffend and her peace project, see her link-
Mayor Gene Winstead and the Bloomington City Council have issued a proclamation to the Bloomington Human Rights Commission commemorating the International Day of Peace. For more information about the proclamation, you can view the Bloomington City Council meeting at the following link-
The Bloomington Human Rights Commission serves as advisors to the Bloomington City Council. The Commission educates and advocates on a multitude of human rights issues as defined by Minnesota Statutes 363A. For more information on the Minnesota Statutes, see the following link-
The Commission addresses these human rights issues by focusing on the “action categories” of Cultural Competence, Equality, Leadership and Public Relations. The Commission meets the third Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the Bloomington Civic Plaza. The public is encouraged to attend. If you have questions about the Human Rights Commission, please call 952-563-8733 or see the following link-
For more information about the International Day of Peace, see the following links-
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