Article by Mike Murphy, AFSC KC Program Committee member
This year’s Visions of Peace at the Crossroads Festival was another rousing success. The Festival took place on June 7th, the first Friday of the month. First Friday is the time for the monthly art walk in The Crossroads District, and attendees of the Festival were a healthy mixture of peace activists and art enthusiasts who just happened upon the event.
Regardless of how or why people were there, they were treated to an amazing array of talented poets, dancers, musicians, and other artists. Young Nicolette Paige was the first musical performer, combining folk, reggae, R&B, & soul. Nicolette has now performed all three years that this festival has been held at the Crossroads. Bob and Diana Suckiel were the next musical act, bringing their songs of labor, civil rights, and peace. Streetlevel Uprising closed out the night with explosive, socially conscious lyrics in a blend of reggae, rock and a laid-back groove.
Woven in between these musical acts were poets and dancers. This was not all spectator sport. There were some interactive segments, as well. One dance troupe even led a peace march through the crowded arts district. It was great to see so many young people participating, especially the youth who took part in AFSC’s “If I Could Change the World” Spoken Word Project, including Terra Harris from DeLaSalle Education Center, a group of students from the Grandview Center for Alternative Instruction, and other youth.
While it is important to bear witness against injustice, it is also important to stand for something, and this event was successful in standing for peace, beauty, and community. It took a village to put this event on, and while the event was organized by the American Friends Service Committee (kudos to Ira Harritt for his hard work and organizing skills!), it was supported by over thirty local community, faith, and civic organizations, including:
Co-sponsors: ArtsTech, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, GKC Interfaith Council, KKFI Community Radio, Leela Village, Midwest InterPlay, PeaceWorks KC, St. Mark’s Hope and Peace Church, The Rime Center
Endorsers: Disciples Peace Fellowship, Grace Covenant Kairos, Keeler Women¹s Center, Lawrence Coalition for Peace & Justice, Missouri Association of Social Welfare, MO NOW
Tablers: Action Committee For Social Change, Aim4Peace, Kansas City Baha’i Community, Bradley Manning Support Group, Brotherhood for Children, Cherith Brook Catholic Worker, Consolidated Social Work Services, Cross Border Network, Cultural Crossroads, Gray Panthers, MO Jobs with Justice, Physicians for Social Responsibility KC, Veterans for Peace (KCMO Chapter), and United Progressives.
Most of these groups were on hand to show how they are working hard to make the world a better place.