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Dozens of people from across the country have answered the call from the Franciscan Peace Center in Clinton, Iowa to participate in a revolutionary new collaborative video project to celebrate peace.

The Sisters of St. Francis of Clinton, Iowa have traditionally held a vigil at their home – The Canticle – to celebrate the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21 and Campaign Nonviolence, which this year will take place Sept. 19-27. In the past, visitors were invited to pray, sing, attend services, and participate in drumming circles, communitywide walks, and other activities. But with the pandemic limiting in-person gatherings, some creative thinking was in order. In an effort to honor all of these traditions, organizers came up with an idea for a virtual walk across the USA.

Individuals from each state across the country were recruited and asked to record themselves walking and talking about a wish for peace in their state. The individual videos were edited together into a 13-minute project.

“We knew it was an ambitious concept when we came up with it, but thanks to our relationships with family and friends from across the USA it has really come together better than we had even imagined,” states Sister Kathleen Holland of the committee working on the project. “It is truly moving to see so many people from across the country who all share a common dream for peace.”

“My name is D.J.,” says a young boy as he walks holding hands with his little sister, “and I am from Wisconsin. My wish for Wisconsin is to have greater equality.”

“Oh, Aloha!” greets a man with a surfboard. “I’m Pastor John, and here in the islands of Hawaii, we paddle for peace!”

Cheryl in New Mexico believes that if “people learn to care for each other and help each other there is no problem on the planet that we cannot solve together.”

Music was supplied by Native American flutist William Buchholtz-Allison who was selected to honor the indigenous people of the land now known as the United States of America.

The video will be released on Monday, Sept. 21 – the International Day of Peace and will be accessible at the following places online:

www.ClintonFranciscans.com

• YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/ClintonFranciscans

• Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SistersOfStFrancisClintonIa

• Twitter https://twitter.com/ClintonSisters

The International Day of Peace (“Peace Day”) is observed around the world each year on Sept. 21. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace. The Clinton Franciscans have sponsored a local observance of the International Day of Peace at The Canticle every year since 2001.

Campaign Nonviolence is a grassroots movement to mainstream active nonviolence using the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. that calls us to become people of nonviolence and to resolve personal and global conflicts nonviolently. Every year, Campaign Nonviolence organizes a national week of action across the United States and around the world, built around Sept. 21, International Day of Peace. Planners hope participants will use the week as an organizing tool, to get the movement moving, to invite people of all walks of life to take to the streets against violence and injustice, and to carry on Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of what we could become, a new culture of nonviolence.

The Franciscan Peace Center was established by the Sisters of St. Francis as a means for integrating Franciscan spirituality with the mission of promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking, as well as advocating for social justice issues and care for the Earth. Most recently, the Center has focused on immigration reform, human trafficking, abolition of the death penalty, domestic violence and sexual assault, poverty, environmental concerns, and active nonviolence. More information is available at www.ClintonFranciscans.com.

Laura Anderson, Franciscan Peace Center/Sisters of St. Francis