Celebrating Friends for Peace Day
Friends for Peace, a group which has its heart in the Pine Gate Sangha community, sets aside a day each year to celebrate what we can all do to make the world a better place.
In 2010, this day featured themes of planetary care and social justice. On October 2 at City Hall, the response to Friends for Peace Day 2010 blew everyone away!
Many well-known local and national figures gave speeches and presentations. Mayoral candidate Clive Doucet not only danced a great number with the Big Soul Project musicians: he also gave a stirring speech about Cities of Peace, a vision for Ottawa. Métis story teller Jo Maple recounted the fable of Hummingbird, called "Doing the Best I Can,"about trying to put out a forest fire one drop at a time. Alex Cullen, Paul Dewar and other municipal and political figures also attended.
Click here to view Video - Clive Doucet on Nuclear Disarmament from Friends for Peace Day
Daniel Stringer, founder of the National Capital Peace Council, received a Peace Award and spoke about practical peace projects. Jen Hunter, who plans to run for office during the next federal election, talked about planetary care. Dr. Ian Prattis asked the crowd whether they were ready for tomorrow's child, not yet born.
This child has difficult questions: "What did you do when there was still time to create a sustainable world?" "On your watch, was there intelligent life in humanity's leaders and decision makers?" A resounding affirmative was delivered by the diversity gathered on this day.
A rousing wakeup call from Pipers for Peace began the day-long celebration. Next, the aboriginal women's drum group from Minwaashin rooted the event in planet Earth. Koozma Tarasoff introduced a magnificent Leo Tolstoy exhibition and spoke eloquently about this cultural peace pioneer. Many other musical and spoken-word artists also contributed their talents.
Through the day-long event, more than $5,000 was raised to continue the work of Friends for Peace. The day was full of focused intent and action, and at times people were moved to both tears and laughter.
This intensity and joy rippled through a diverse crowd. All generations, faiths and cultures attended. Young participants included a group of teen step dancers, the Holy Trinity High School Rhythm and Blues band, and some university students. These youth converged on the Connection Centre, which linked projects back to people.
The Connection Centre, a new initiative for Friends for Peace Day 2010, included items such as a petition for a Department of Peace. The petition is handwritten on parchment, and the scroll full of citizen concerns will be delivered to Parliament Hill for federal MPs Paul Dewar and Bill Siksay to take further.
Retail outlets provided incredible support for the day, including contributions to the event's silent auction fundraiser. Twenty community and activist groups, including Greening Sacred Spaces, set up display tables for the day.
For one whole day, the diverse inhabitants of Ottawa chose to gather, listen, dance, laugh and cry--and took home an unforgettable experience of hope and confidence.
The directors of Friends for Peace are Robert Lavigne, Sat Hari Kaur Khalsa, Vivian Dickie, Carolyn Hill and Ian Prattis.
Ian Prattis is a peace activist in Ottawa.
Last Updated (Friday, 04 March 2011 05:18)