What is an act of peace? A group of Union College students in the Amnesty/Tiny Hands International Club plan to help answer this question for Lincoln at the 10,000 Acts of Peace rally on April 3 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at The Railyard in downtown Lincoln. The event, sponsored by the Interfaith Peacemaking Coalition, will celebrate 30 years of peacemaking in Lincoln.
The celebration features keynote speaker Dawn Engle, nominated for the Nobel Peace prize nine times and founder of One Billion Acts of Peace, as well as Jody Williams, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to globally ban landmines, who will join the party via Skype on the Cube’s big screen TV, accompanied by a message from the Dalai Lama.
Also present will be live local music from top performers, including Andean folk musician Kusi Taki, traditional Japanese drumming by the Kyoko Taiko Drummers, and the Jewish chorale group Star City Kochavim and the Union College Octet.
“We are honored and thrilled to have such eminent advocates of worldwide peace right here in Lincoln to help us celebrate our anniversary,” said Chris Blake, chair of the Interfaith Peacemaking Coalition and Union professor of the Conflict and Peacemaking class helping lead out in the celebration.
According to the organization’s website, lincolnpeacemakers.com, “Lincoln Peacemakers is an initiative of the Interfaith Peacemaking Coalition, a nonprofit organization of people from different faiths (or no religious affiliation) who’ve been actively building peace since 1986.” The Coalition offers various workshops to bring people of different backgrounds together to create meaningful dialogue and peace, and through the Lincoln Peacemakers works to engage Lincolnites.
“Lincoln Peacemakers is coordinating the biggest push for peace in Lincoln’s history. We’re challenging residents, organizations and city officials to create 10,000 Acts of Peace in Lincoln,” said Union College 2015 graduate Misha Darcy, who currently works with fellow 2015 graduate Harry Smith in social media, marketing, and additional outreach for the event.
Lincoln Peacemakers encourages Lincolnites to commit to a goal of 10,000 Acts of Peace by April of this year. These Acts will be tallied in the total garnered by its global partner PeaceJam Foundation’s One Billion Acts of Peace.
“An Act of Peace,” explained Martha Gadberry, a member of the Interfaith Peace Coalition, “is one that makes others’ lives easier by giving, advocating, organizing, intervening or reaching out.” Acts of Peace may be as simple as donating at the city mission or as involved as organizing a fair trade market in the local community. Acts of Peace must meet at least one of 10 peace-related issues as identified by the United Nations:
- Human rights
- Water and resources
- Conflict resolution
- Empowering women and children
- Slowing weapons proliferation
- Education and community
A Peace Act can be completed in three easy steps. The first step is to choose one of these issues and determine to get to the root of solving it. Next, create and act on an antidote to the issue, and then register said act via lincolnpeacemakers.com. Any individual or group may register more than one Act of Peace from as far back as September 2015.
In the article, “Lincoln asked to commit 10,000 Acts of Peace,” published Jan. 22 of this year, the Lincoln Journal Star reported that the campaign, said Blake, “fits the mission of the Lincoln Interfaith Peacemaking Coalition, which is to bring together people of goodwill, including people who are not affiliated with any religious organization, to build peace.”
“As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, peace and social justice are part of my own mission statement,” said Darcy. “I know the impact one person can have on a community, and what excites me most about this project is the cumulative impact we can achieve on our whole city by collaborating toward mutual goals. People in Lincoln have always been doing extraordinary things to build each other up. Lincoln Peacemakers puts focus on that work.”
Perhaps one of the most important facets of this campaign, however, is not just doing but inspiring. By sharing good deeds and Peace Acts via Facebook and other social media, anyone can provide motivation and encouragement to others to engage in their own Acts of Peace, even if it’s just eating lunch with a lonely peer or picking up trash littering an elderly neighbor’s yard. Anything can lead to a transformation for peace, and even to reconciliation.