Peace Day Philly works to promote peace with citywide events

Peace Day Philly
Peace Day Philly is holding a series of events ahead of the U.N.’s International Day of Peace.
Deb Schell

Thursday is the International Day of Peace, and a local organization is hosting a series of events to mark the occasion.

Lisa Parker, a former social worker and Germantown native, founded Peace Day Philly, a nonprofit, after watching a documentary in 2009 about the day – Sept. 21 – which was established by the United Nations.

“The idea is that if we have that awareness on the day, then people may be more aware of it going forward, and really thinking about the role of peace in their lives and how they can create greater peace in their lives,” she told Metro.

Now in its 13th year, Peace Day Philly is helping to organize more than a dozen activities, some of which, including a meditation session and a workshop on grief, were held this past weekend.

“Our focus is on building positive peace,” Parker, who lives in the King of Prussia area, said. “So we are not an anti-violence organization. We’re a pro-peace organization.”

“Our philosophy is that if there’s more people out there building positive peace, then, in time, there will be a reduction in negativity and violence and people not getting along,” she added.

Hundreds of students are expected to participate in “Footballs Not Firearms,” a march and rally taking place Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Fairhill Square.

PDP is collaborating with the Philadelphia Police Department on the event, and the Eagles are donating 150 footballs to give away to young people. Food, music and an art activity are also included.

Peace Day Philly is in its 13th year. Deb Schell

On Thursday, the day itself, PDP is organizing speakers and bringing drummers to the north side of City Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. At noon, attendees will participate in a worldwide minute of silence.

Among the other activities planned for the week are an immigrant and refugee job fair from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday at 801 Market St.; a communication workshop at the Peace Center in Langhorne; and a virtual panel discussion about water access beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Parker said PDP designs events to focus on personal, local and global peace.

The organization, which is composed of a small group of volunteers, has also partnered with the School District of Philadelphia and the Free Library to integrate activities that center on peace, she said.

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