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International Day of Peace Celebration Starts in the High Country Sept. 21; Features Speakers, Parade and More

by Madison V. Fisler

Sept. 19, 2013. Sept. 21 will mark the International Day of Peace, a United Nations-sanctioned day which strives to be a “global day of ceasefire and nonviolence.”

In the High Country, the Mountain Peacemakers, a local peace-loving group formed in 2006, refuses to let the day go by unnoticed. To support the ideals and theme of this internationally-accepted day, the group plans to host many events throughout the month of September to extend the International Day of Peace into a month-long observance. 

imgresThe Mountain Peacemakers’ mission statement is “promoting peace through visual arts, music, collaboration and education is our intention.” The Peacemakers hold true to this initiative through a month-long art exhibit at the Jones House in Boone, a parade held on Sept. 21 and much more. 

“The International Day of Peace is an opportunity for people to stop and consider how they can be more peaceful in their world and stop to envision what international peace could look like,” said Lexie Danner, who organizes the event. 

“We really focus on the arts as a means to convey what peace can look like.”

The International Day of Peace will be met with a month of events. Opening during the First Friday Art Crawl in Boone, the Jones House will host a “Visions of Peace” exhibit utilizing both floors of gallery space. The top floor will host work from students in elementary through high school while the downstairs space will house art produced by community artists. Each day from Sept. 17-20, the Jones House will also house a guest speaker from noon until 1 p.m.

The guest speakers for the event are Rabeetah Hasnain, president of Appalachian State University’s Muslim Student Association; Charlotte Ross, a playwright, folklorist, performer and teacher of Appalachia; Suzi Woodard, counselor with the collaborative Blue Mountain Center for Integrative Health and finally Tommy Brown, founder of College Life Engagement.

imgres-1On Saturday, Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace will be greeted by yoga on the library lawn at Watauga County Public Library at 11 a.m. At noon, there will be a moment of silence to observe the idea of peace. From 1-4 p.m. the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone will host peace-related activities as part of the Turchin Center family day.

Finally, from 3-4 p.m. there will be an International Day of Peace parade running from the Turchin Center to Howard Street, to King Street and back up to the Turchin Center. More than 100 people are expected to participate, and music will be played by the Rural Academy Theater.

But the peace loving doesn’t end after the official day of peace. On Sept. 22, a “Voices of Peace” concert will be held at 2 p.m. at Rosen Concert Hall on ASU’s campus. 

A detailed calendar of events for this peaceful month of celebration is included below:

  • Monthlong – “Visions of Peace” art exhibit at the Jones House Community and Cultural Center
  • Sept. 6 – “Visions of Peace” exhibit opening reception at the Jones House 5-8 p.m.
  • Sept. 13 – Film showing of “Peace One Day” at the Watauga County Library from 3-5 p.m.
  • Sept. 15 – “Food Not Bombs” at the Howard Street Exchange from 12-5 p.m.
  • Sept. 17-20 – 12-1 p.m. Teach Ins – Lunch and Learn at the Jones House
  • Sept. 21 – 11 a.m. Lawn Yoga with Vicki Rodriguez at the Watauga County Public Library
  • Sept. 21 – 12 p.m. Global Moment of Silence on the Watauga County Library Lawn
  • Sept. 21- 1-3 p.m. Turchin Family Day at the Turchin Center
  • Sept. 21 – 3-4 p.m. Parade with the Elkland Art Center and Music by Rural Academy Theatre
  • Sept. 22 – 2 p.m. “Voices of Peace” concert at Rosen Concert Hall sponsored by the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies featuring performances by the 5th Edition Quartet, Joe Shannon, Klee Liles, the Watauga Community Band, the ASU Gospel Choir, the Spring House Choir, Brian Swanson and much more. The concert is organized by Billy Ralph Winkler. 

“We have a very peace-loving community,” Danner said. “It’s something I think we need to always be mindful of and not take for granted.”