Friday, September 17, 2010 - 12:00pm

For thirty years and counting, Chicago has officially celebrated Peace Day.   First proclaimed by Chicago’s Mayor on September 7, 1978, Peace Day began with an idea:  to set aside one day each year for people of all backgrounds, faiths, cultures and ages to focus on peace for the entire planet.  Four years after Peace Day in Chicago was established, the United Nations designated September 21 the International Day of Peace and Chicago began celebrating Peace Days from September 7 – 21.  Themes include Make a Minute for Peace Every Day and Let’s Make Every Day Peace Day.
 
Join us at noon in Daley Plaza on Friday September 17, 2010!  Chicago’s Peace Day Celebration is a free, public event and always includes One Minute of Silence for World Peace, cultural performances of music and dance to celebrate the diversity of our city and world, and brief remarks by some of Chicago’s prominent peacebuilders.  The celebration features the Call to Peace and World Peace Flag Ceremony.  Flags of world form a colorful procession, world music plays, and as each country is named, its flag is respectfully presented on stage.  Everyone joins in sending heartfelt wishes, thoughts or prayers for peace to each country equally by saying together, “Peace in [each nation, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe]!”  Flags are carried by members of the Chicago Consular Corps, representatives of ethnic and cultural institutions, students and volunteers.  
 
The Call to Peace is an inspiring and deeply touching experience.  Many are moved to tears.  Others open their minds to the world and marvel at the number of countries in existence.  “This is so important to the world that I wanted to be there myself, and to carry my country’s flag personally,” said the Honorable Lesly Conde, Haiti’s Consul General in Chicago.  “We don’t realize how many people in other countries are praying for peace like we are,” remarked a Chicagoan who lent her voice to the Call to Peace.
 
Last year the Chicago Build the Peace Committee (CBTPC) was formed to expand Peace Day activities in honor of the event’s 30th anniversary.  The Committee meets monthly at The Peace School and is working to make the 2010 celebration Chicago’s most successful yet.  In addition to the September 17th Celebration in Daley Plaza, the CBTPC is working with Chicago Public Schools to commemorate Peace Day through a variety of peacebuilding activities.  A Music for Peace Festival is also in the works.  The long term goal of the CBTPC is to mainstream a Culture of Peace in the City of Chicago – for every individual, family, school and neighborhood – thereby creating a Model City of Peace.  
 
Volunteers are needed!  To volunteer for Peace Day or learn more or join the Chicago Build the Peace Committee call 773.248.7959, visit www.buildthepeace.org <http://www.buildthepeace.org/>  or write to info@buildthepeace.org <mailto:info@buildthepeace.org> .