Peace Day prevails in Philly

Ashack and Drum Circle, Photo provided by Peace Day Philly

By Kim Russell

In this world, so much is out of our individual control, so beginning our days with positive affirmations is a small, yet important step toward reclaiming our power,  while striving to move through our daily routines in peace. 

As a trained social worker wanting to build a platform of peace & justice, Lisa Parker felt a void in our communities. When she learned of International Peace Day in 2009, she felt instantly connected. Standing on the belief, “the route to a better world begins with personal peace,” this epiphany left Lisa highly inspired & motivated to bring that energy to her native city and finally fill a void. In pursuit of a new peace movement in Philadelphia, she committed to her journey in 2010.

To raise awareness about Peace Day Philly (PDP), Lisa coordinated a Soccer tournament with rival school teams.  The players were blended to create athletically diverse teams, competing under the One Day One Goal initiative – the goal being peace.  Though Peace Day Philly is the lovechild of the International Day of Peace, Philly’s peace journey, in its own uniqueness, facilitates a week of events leading up to International Peace Day’s annual observance on September 21st. With support from several entities, including the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia, PDP has scored goal after goal. Peace Day Philly officially became a non-profit in 2013 and by 2018 established Non-Government Organization (NGO), affiliated with the United Nations.  

It seems Lisa’s spirit of peace harnessed the Universal Law of Attraction to manifest space & opportunities to cultivate peaceful events around our city. Like-minded people have gravitated to Peace Day Philly’s cause.  Starting with a small core group of volunteers, PDP has continued to grow & expand its branches each year.  Through the challenges of 2020, PDP has adapted rather than abate, and 2021 has been no exception.  PDP remains true to their mission statement which is all about “empowering all people to collaboratively build a more peaceful and just world.”  A There are numerous virtual & in person events to partake in, and they are free to the public.  

The week of events will kick off with a screening of the film, “Hello Sunshine,” chronicling the activist efforts of Roz Pichardo, founder of Operation Save Our City, whose mission is to support families of murder victims through counseling & fighting to restore justice. Roz says her collaboration with PDP has offered a great avenue to increase awareness of the disparities & challenges people face in North Philadelphia. She adds that PDP “invites people to the table who don’t know what we’re experiencing [in North Philly] …I think it’s important to invite everyone to the table, whether they look like us or have the same [socio-economic status], to be a part of change.”  As Peace Week progresses, we can look forward to support from the Philadelphia Police Department & its Community Relation Officers, as their participation has been a staple since the start of Peace Day. There will also be clean-up efforts, workshops focusing on Health, Community, Peace, Love & Meditation.  On Saturday, Sept 18th, you can join a virtual Mantra-Thon.  Between the hours of 12PM – 8PM, drop in at any time to immerse yourself in the positive words & Buddhist mantras being chanted by members of the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia.  

PDP dedicated their efforts to providing opportunities to participate in acts of peace, culminating with events in Philadelphia on the  International Day of Peace on Sept 21st. On that day, you are invited to feel the peace at a drum circle in Rittenhouse Square and to share a Global Minute of Silence or at Point Breeze’s Concert Garden for the Concerting Peace Event.  If unable to engage in community events, Lisa encourages everyone to find a piece of peace, even if it’s “calling an estranged friend to reestablish the connection,” or by stating an affirmation like this: 

My Spirit exudes peace, and I attract a peaceful energy & atmosphere in any environment that I enter.

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