With Black Lives Matter in the streets for months protesting police brutality, sparking sympathetic demonstrations around the world, and white, armed supremacist groups gathering to confront an elusive Antifa—it seems our planet needs the United Nations International Day of Peace on September 21.
And Philly is a big part of this special initiative thanks to Lisa D. Parker, Philadelphia native and social worker by training, who has been involved with various compassionate campaigns in quite a few city neighborhoods, focusing on anti-bullying and educational projects, cross-cultural outreach, mental health, and public health programs.
Inspired to get involved
“I learned about Peace Day in 2009, and I was so inspired by a global day of peace, that I wanted to be a part of it. I was a social worker in the city, and it really gave me the motivation to begin. I wanted Philadelphia to play a role...In 2011, I reached out to organizations in the city to do something. From there it really took off…”
A little bit of backstory: in November 1981, the International Day of Peace was adopted by the United Nations unanimously via a resolution that said the day should be devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.” In 2001, a second Peace Day resolution was introduced that had a bit more teeth and even greater significance, establishing September 21 as the day to celebrate peace, saying it should be observed “as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence” and an invitation to all nations and people to honor a “cessation of hostilities for the duration of the day.”
Who is participating?
Parker and her 501C3 organization, Peace Day Philly, went from an original 3 programs the first year and now has a week’s worth of free activities online. This year, 17 Philadelphia organizations are participating including the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), Interfaith Philadelphia, and The Peace Center.
What will your #PeaceDay be like?
Peace Day Philly has a host of things for people to do to celebrate the day, but Parker drew my attention to two activities close to her heart: Junk Journaling for Peace on Saturday, September 19 at 3:30pm will be an exercise to help connect individuals and groups via their inner feelings to “dream and envision new possibilities.” There will also be a virtual panel discussion—Immigrant Youth and Their Right to Peace and Security on Wednesday, September 16 at 5pm—featuring different perspectives on the cruel and racist calamity at the US/Mexico border. Immigrants will read the sworn testimony of child detainees via The Flores Exhibits, which aims to change immigration policy via “narrative-driven” advocacy designed to make the American public understand what is really going on in America’s detention facilities.
Prior to being assigned this story by the editors at BSR, this humble writer had never heard of Peace Day Philly. Now that I’ve been enlightened, you have too. Let’s get involved.
What, When, and Where:
Peace Day Philly events begin September 15, 2020, and run through Monday, September 21, 2020. All events are online, and admission is free. Call for more info, at (215) 688-6127, and visit on Facebook and Twitter.