By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The inaugural United Nations Association of Oklahoma City (UNA-OKC) Friendship Walk will be held on Saturday, September 24, at 2 p.m., at the Myriad Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City. The event will commemorate the International Day of Peace as proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
“It is absolutely necessary to advocate for peace, human rights, inclusive societies, and effective governance at all levels, both here and abroad. They are vital to the sustainable development of future generations,” said Sinead Maguina, UNA-OKC President.
“The walk will be a part of the Turkish Festival and will demonstrate the rich diversity of Oklahoma’s communities as well as our commitment to building a culture of peace and friendship.”
Maguina will emcee the event and Maureen Heffernan, Executive Director of the Myriad Gardens Foundation will deliver a welcome message.
Additional remarks will be given by Kuaybe Basturk, executive director of the Interfaith Dialog Institute and Aamr Hasanjee, president of the Muslim Student Association at the University of Central Oklahoma.
“There has never been a greater need for the promotion of peace and unity than at this point in American history,” said Hasanjee.
Organizers ask that all walk participants maintain a “positive attitude and a peaceful demeanor.”
While at the Myriad Gardens, Peace Walk attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy the Turkish Food and Art Festival, which starts at 10 a.m. and features a wide selection of Turkish cuisine along with entertainment by musicians, dancers such as whirling dervishes, and other artists. The festival is free and open to the public.
Walkers will follow a path around the perimeter of the Myriad Gardens while being accompanied by flutes and drums. Participants are invited to bring signs and banners expressing support for peace, freedom, human rights, a sustainable climate, and international solidarity.
Peace Walk organizers welcome and encourage the participation of school groups, faith communities, national heritage associations, and organizations supporting the values expressed in the United Nations Charter — peace, tolerance, equal rights, and the social advancement of all peoples.
The walk is planned to coincide with the International Day of Peace, which is officially recognized on September 21 each year.
Sponsors of the Friendship Walk include the United Nations Association, the Raindrop Turkish House, the Respect Diversity Foundation, and other community-based organizations.
“Peace won’t be granted to us if we don’t voluntarily take a step out of our comfort zones, and also if we don’t do this all together and turn these steps into peace walks just like we are planning,” stated Basturk.
Visit the UNA-OKC Facebook page for more information.