As International Day of Peace approaches on Sept. 21, local efforts are being made to celebrate this day through the third Let Peace Reign event, organized by the Isabella County Human Rights Committee.
The event will take virtually on Sept. 19 from 5-7 p.m. and will feature a variety of speakers, including the Mount Pleasant Mayor, Anti-Racist Midland, Ebony Steward, representatives from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and Central Michigan University. There will also be several musicians and entertainers.
“The idea generally is to provide an opportunity for the community and community organizations to come together and think about peace, how they have contributed toward peace, what peace means to them, and how they plan to contribute toward peace in the future,” says Maureen Eke, Chair of the Isabella County Human Rights Committee.
While an event promoting peace is important in any time, Eke feels it is something that is particularly important now.
“People are seriously discontent, not just about the coronavirus, but about how people are being treated,” Eke says. “We need something to show that there is some semblance of humanity left. Frankly, I don’t know how we can talk about peace anywhere without justice or justice anywhere without peace. Peace is not just the absence of war. It is also the recognition that everybody has rights to security, that everybody has the rights to belong to a community, that everyone has rights that must be recognized and preserved.”
While the idea of peace may seem like a large thing to tackle – especially right now, perhaps – and can leave people wondering how one person can make a difference in the pursuit of such a large goal, Eke says it’s important to remember that each person is able to help achieve peace.
“If we come together and contribute in our own way, we can actually make a difference. And that’s all we need. We only need a few people who will contribute a little bit,” she says. “You don’t have to do tremendous things. You just have to do a little bit. And that’s the hope for humanity.”
Hope is what Eke’s wants attendees of the virtual event to leave with to leave the virtual event with.
“My hope is that people who come will leave with the hope that all is not lost, with hope that in the middle of the chaos there is the possibility of healing,” says Eke.
Those who wish to attend the virtual Let Peace Reign event should follow the Isabella County Human Rights Committee’s Facebook page for updates about when the event goes live.
The Isabella County Human Rights Committee meets the first Monday of the month at 5:15pm, except when this runs into holidays, and meetings are open to the public.