Community members are invited to gather around the Peace Pole as we envision a world that is free of hostilities. The International Day of Peace will be celebrated on Sunday, September 21, 2014 at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. The United Nations created the day in 1981 to strengthen the ideals of peace among nations.
As a community activist, I conceived the idea of a peace pole which would be a permanent place for peace-related activities to be held. Sunflower Society’s art teachers Winsome Bolt and Denise Marlow created a unique hand-crafted monument with carvings of doves and the word “peace” in eight different languages. Although it took several years, the installation ceremony at the botanical garden, was a very successful event that took place on Peace Day, occurred last year. Dr. Harmony Fountaine, who is known as Peace Pilgrim 3, also planted a peace mediation tree beside the Peace Pole.
The observance of the International Day of Peace in our area this year is being presented by the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board (CRB). It will be a day to honor organizations and individuals that have contributed to peace in Miami-Dade County during the past year. The mission of the CRB is to intervene and reduce community tensions at times of crisis while promoting understanding, communication and respect amongst diverse groups.
CRB Chair Dr. Walter Richardson stated: “It is very important that people who are peacemakers are celebrated because we have many people who are peacekeepers, but not enough peace makers.”
The CRB will present certificates to organizations and individuals who have conducted programs and activities in our community during the past year that have made a significant contribution to peace. CRB members have nominated the following honorees: Florida Anti- Defamation League; City of Miami Beach; MCCJ Miami Conference of Christians and Jews; Nelson Mandela Memorial Celebration Organizing Committee; Urban League of Greater Miami; Salvation Army Miami Area Command; Safe Schools South Florida; Patricia and Philip Front Museum of Science; Miami-Dade Princeton Prize in Race Relations Committee; Lionel Lightbourne; and the Theodore Roosevelt Gibson Memorial Fund, Inc.
The children from eight feeder pattern schools in Miami Beach, as well as youngsters from after-school programs, will participate in the noteworthy day by writing essays or creating symbolic drawings of peace. All of the entries will be displayed at the garden on the day of the event.
The Peace Pole and the celebration of the International Day of Peace is a legacy that I leave to this community. Please join us for this special event and help to promote a better understanding amongst everyone and create a more tranquil environment in our community.
Marjorie York is a community activist in Miami Beach, a civic leader in Miami- Dade County and a member of the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board.