By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The United Nations Association of Oklahoma City (UNA-OKC) will host an event to recognize the International Day of Peace on Thursday, September 21. at the Oklahoma State Capitol South Steps from 6 – 8 p.m.
Event organizers invite the public to “make an impact on your community and unite with fellow Oklahomans at the State Capitol steps to plant pinwheels on the lawn representing why you work for peace.”
Special guest speakers that evening will include Deb Echo-Hawk, Pawnee Nation Elders Program coordinator; Dr. Nyla Ali Khan, University of Oklahoma faculty member, author and member of Harvard-based Scholars Strategy Network; Candace Liger, performance artist, CEO of #GoodFunk Headquarters, and community organizer for ACLU of Oklahoma: Maurianna Adams, Community Alliance of Oklahoma; and Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, executive director of Black Lives Matter Oklahoma.
“I pray for the day that nobody has to be encouraged to assemble to rally for peace,” said Dickerson. “That certainly one day, all hearts, minds, and souls will pursue peace and will be vigilant about maintaining it.
“Until Peace Reigns, I invite those who seek fellowship, allyship, and to be part of the voice of peace, to come stand and participate with others and myself as we unify to welcome Peace amongst us all.”
Observed by millions of people around the globe, the International Day of Peace is dedicated to world peace, specifically a reduction in war and violence.
“We celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace every September 21st,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Oklahoma City Peace House. “This year I will be in Lawton to speak at the Peace Day event there. It’s a day to remember that war and violence must become obsolete if humanity is to share the abundance of our planet.”
The Day of Peace was established in 1981 by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly and has been celebrated in Oklahoma City since 2008.
The theme for the 2017 global event is Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All. This theme is based on the “TOGETHER” global campaign that supports those forced to flee their homes in search of a better life. For more about the “Together” campaign, visit together.un.org.
On September 15, from 9 – 9:30 a.m. (EST) U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres will mark Peace Day in the Peace Garden at United Nations Headquarters in New York City by ringing the Japanese Peace Bell and observing a minute of silence.
United Nations ‘Messengers of Peace’ such as Dr. Jane Goodall, have been invited to participate in the ceremony. Following that event, the United Nations Education Outreach Section will hold a global student videoconference from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., also at United Nations Headquarters. http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/events.shtml
Founded in 1945 by 51 countries, the United Nations is committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.
The U.N. is also making important contributions to the world’s understanding of climate change and sustainable development.
UNA-OKC is a local chapter of the nation’s largest grassroots foreign policy organization that offers Oklahomans the opportunity to connect with issues confronted by the U.N. – from global health and human rights to the spread of democracy, equitable development and international justice – their goal is to” live locally and think and act globally.”
“Well will be observing International Peace Day, September 21st, at the State Capitol this year.” said Priya Desai, Advocacy Director for the United Nations Association of Oklahoma City. “Come decorate a pinwheel and plant it on the Capitol lawn for your cause. We are encouraging organizations, classrooms, families, and individuals to join us.”
For more information about this event and the Oklahoma City Chapter of the United Nations Association, visit www.una-okc.org.