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Day of Peace in Barrytown, New York

USA-2008-09-21-Day of Peace in Barrytown, New York

Barrytown, New York, USA - What can a small group, in a small town, of highly motivated and empowered people do? A lot, if you look at the work done by the Mid-Hudson Valley Ambassadors for Peace on the UN International Day of Peace, September 21, 2008.

A core of 12 people pushed hard to create programs for the Barrytown, Tivoli, and Red Hook communities, an area with a population of less than 10,000, because they believe that peacebuilding is a compelling cause.

It started early this summer at the United Nations when Jeremy Gilley, the founder of Peace One Day, showed his powerful movie “The Day After,” showing how in Afghanistan, one of the most war-ravaged countries, fighting stopped for one day. Peace for this one day, September 21, 2007, allowed UNESCO workers to travel to remote areas of the country and inoculate 1.3 million children against polio.

Planning Sessions #1, #2, #3, #4Flier #1, Flier #2

Instead of focusing on one possibility, our group queried each other about our “signature strength areas.” Thirteen potential projects emerged, each with different leadership. On the actual day, people participated in and led the projects they were most attached to emotionally.

Telling the story of peace in images - We contacted Jeremy Gilley and got permission to duplicate his YouTube video, “Peace One Day,” and distributed copies to classrooms. His 88-minute movie, “The Day After,” has been called the most powerful peace movie ever made. With permission, we made duplicates to give out in the local communities.

Telling the story of peace in images in words – Another team went into the community and spread the message to clergy, politicians, and local merchants. Clergy were encouraged to give “peace sermons.” The local town supervisor issued a proclamation; fliers were given to 40 local merchants, and the day before the event team members handed out a thousand fliers.

Peace Sermon - A local shaman gave a peace sermon.

Peace Vigil – One hundred and twenty people participated. The children assembled on a stage in semicircles, with the women behind them. Our purpose was to acknowledge and empower children and women as peacemakers. A moment of silence connected us with the rest of the world celebrating peace on this day.

Kite Flying for Peace – About 60 children and adults ran up and down a field pulling kites of all sizes and shapes. Seeing the program leader running back and forth helping the children was what this event was about.

Peace Concert – A world-renowned soprano Seiko Lee was joined by peace troubadour Cecelia St. King and Sound Machine. Each performer inspired the audience in a different way. One man said, “Hearing Seiko, an opera singer, do a classic peace song was awesome.”

Peace Sanctuary/Labyrinth Walk – A pot-luck dinner was planned, followed by a peace flag ceremony with people wearing traditional national costumes and a candlelight labyrinth walk. When a sudden rain after dinner canceled the rest of the events, not one person left. They huddled under the tents, and for the next hour we talked and shared. A day of peace activities had produced a quiet calm in the midst of a thunderous downpour. It was a model of what this event was created for.

So, can a small committed group of people affect their community today? Yes. And the world tomorrow? Of course.

For a video of the events contact, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. See also the website


Barrytown Gazette

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