Stop the Hate

Five Bluff Elementary fifth-grade students, (from left) Tayla Feller, Addison Mertz, Kaitlyn Evers, Jack Simpson and Michael Hege, gathered with their art teacher, Meghan Purcell (in back row), in the school media center with their posters and books about peace. The students, all Clinton fifth-grade students, made posters depicting what world peace could look like for the Stop the Hate/ Show the Love walk on Thursday. All the posters will be displayed at Clinton Community College Commons, where walkers will gather at 5 p.m. for the opening ceremony. They will be displayed later in the month at various locations in downtown Clinton.

The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

CLINTON — Clinton’s Stop the Hate / Show the Love walk, held annually in conjunction with the global observance of the U. N. International Day of Peace, will take place Thursday.

“The walk is held on the Thursday closest to the September 21st Day of Peace,” explained Mardell Mommsen of the Clinton Peace Coalition.

The coalition has been sponsoring the walk since shortly after Alma Mariano and the Sisters of St. Francis and Clinton Community College undertook the first walk and then began partnering with Clinton YWCA and the Week Without Violence.

“In this day of mass media and immediate reporting of world events, our perspective has become more global,” noted Mommsen. “At the same time, the Gateway community has become more diverse and the need to come together to celebrate who we are, collectively and individually, is even more important.”

As usual, the walk will begin at CCC at 5 p.m. with college president Karen Vickers on hand to welcome walkers. The highlight of the pre-walk festivities will be the display of posters created by Clinton fifth-grade students to illustrate their ideas of what world peace would look like. It will conclude at Ashford University with a brief presentation and closing rite with Dr. Hope Gardina, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Ashford Choir.

The International Day of Peace was established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 for commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and people.Twenty years later, the General Assembly decided that Sept. 21 would be observed annually as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence and invited all Member States, organizations and individuals to commemorate the day, including through education and public awareness, and to cooperate with the United Nations in the establishment of a global ceasefire. This year the Secretary-General is calling on governments and citizens to focus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

The Clinton Franciscans have been observing the Day of Peace with a 24-hour public vigil in their chapel since 2002.

“We encourage you to plan prayer services or other activities with your spirit-led community,” stated Sister Mary Luke Sondgeroth, coordinator of the observance in a letter to local leaders. “If this is not possible, we invite you to join us at The Canticle.”

The vigil at The Canticle will be from midnight through midnight, Monday, Sept. 21, with constant prayer presence in the chapel.

Among the special activities at The Canticle vigil will be the Arboretum Drumming Circle at 8 a.m., a Mass for Peace at 9 a.m., adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 3:45 p.m.., followed by Evening Prayer at 4:30 p.m..; and Singing Prayer with members of the Zion Lutheran Church community at 7 p.m.

“Any faith community who would like to be the prayer presence during any hour or half-hour of the vigil at The Canticle is most welcome,” said Sister Mary Luke.

To reserve a specific time for group prayer, call Sister Mary Luke at The Canticle, 242-7903, ext. 2483.

“Individuals are welcome to come and join the prayer vigil for peace at any time,” she added. The doors to The Canticle will be open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.. on Sept. 21. People wishing to come between midnight and 6 a.m. or between 9 p.m. and midnight may call Sister Mary Luke by Sunday, Sept. 20, to make arrangements for admittance.

The Clinton Franciscans adopted a corporate public stand opposing nuclear weapons in 2000. As members of the Iowa Division, UNA-USA, they have worked actively for the elimination of such weapons for nearly 20 years.

“We are especially pleased that this year”s focus on the International Day of Peace is tied to the growing global movement to ratify and strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,” stated Sallyann McCarthy, co-coordinator of the Clinton Franciscan Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking. The “WMD – We Must Disarm” campaign focuses on the 2010 conference to review and re-affirm the treaties.

On June 13, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a multi-platform campaign under the slogan “WMD – We Must Disarm” to mark the 100-day countdown leading up to the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21.

During the campaign, the United Nations worked to raise awareness of the dangers and costs of nuclear weapons by issuing a reason a day on why nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are so crucial via Twitter and the social networking sites Facebook and MySpace. The Secretary-General has been joined in the campaign by United Nations Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas, who has championed the cause of disarmament for the United Nations since 1998.

The global public has been invited to participate via e-mail on the U.N. web site devoted to the Day of Peace: http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/2009/.

Postcards will also be available at the walk and at The Canticle for writing to the U.N. in support of the WMD campaign and other U.N. programs.

Everyone can take action by signing a declaration to support the Secretary-General’s drive to rid the world of nuclear weapons, and by submitting their own reasons why We Must Disarm.

For more information on the Stop the Hate Show the Love walk and the Day of Peace vigil, call the Sisters of St. Francis at 242-7611.

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