Marking the 40th U.N. International Day of Peace, Building Unity peace caravans will be arriving in Kenosha today for a community unity effort.
Caravans of volunteers will be driving to Kenosha from Madison, Milwaukee and other Wisconsin cities, and are to arrive at Grace Lutheran Church, 2006 60th St., at about noon, organizers indicated.
The volunteers will interact with Uptown citizens, engage in community clean-up projects and voter engagement work.
At around 3:30 p.m., the caravans will pass by the areas damaged in the city’s recent unrest, where many peace symbols have been used to adorn plywood over businesses and windows. After the tour, they will go to Immanuel United Methodist Church at 5410 Sheridan Road to share an outdoor supper with Kenosha residents.
In the event of rain, the peace caravans will be rescheduled to Monday, Sept. 28.
The community is invited to join in the project. Safe distancing and mask wearing will be required. Wear weather appropriate clothing for working and if you can, bring work gloves. Bring your own water bottle if you can.
Snacks and refreshments will be available. Non-perishable food or cash donations to the food pantry at Grace Lutheran will be collected.
Organizers explained the Building Unity’s purpose is to build connections between existing non-profits to facilitate movement toward real democracy, peace, comprehensive justice, and sustainability across Wisconsin. The group’s 2020 priority has been a non-partisan effort to increase citizen participation in the general election.
In 1981 the UN General Assembly voted to set aside Sept. 21 as International Peace Day, and in 2001 it declared it as “a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.”
This year’s UN Peace Day theme is “Shaping Peace Together.”
Even before COVID-19 pandemic and widespread civil unrest, 2020 had special meaning for the UN. To mark the 75th anniversary of the agency, the UN had designated 2020 as “a year of listening and learning.”
Local residents respond
The News asked a few residents to explain what “peace” means to them.
“Internally it means a quiet mind; not having all these tabs open,” said Kalli Hauter, downtown resident and manager of the House of Nutrition.
“On a global scale, peace might mean better interactions with others and the elimination of greed,” she said.
Kenosha resident and a retired priest from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Gari Green had this to say:
“As I reflect on (what peace means to me), I realize there has been little peace in my lifetime. I was born in 1949. The Greek Civil War was just ending. This was followed by Korea, the Suez crisis of 1956, and on and on to the present. I would be hard pressed to find a year in which there wasn’t an absence of conflict over the globe.
“Peace is more than the absence of conflict. As a retired priest, I often concluded services with this blessing, ‘May the peace of the Holy One that passes understanding be with you.’
“This peace is not circumstantial, meaning it isn’t dependent on the absence of conflict, but can be present in the midst of conflict. Yes, it is paradoxical, meaning it makes no sense to our minds. It is a mystery and a gift. And if we pursue it, we may just be led into the absence of conflict as well.”
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