Imagine a world of cities dedicated to expanding their local peace economy and encouraging a global culture of peace. International Cities of Peace is an association of citizens, governments and organizations who have by proclamation, resolution, or by citizen advocacy established their communities as official Cities of Peace. Every community has a legacy of peace, whether it is by a historical event or by a local peace heroes or groups who have contributed to their citizens’ safety, prosperity and quality of life.
International Day of Peace, September 21st of each year, was created by a United Nations Resolution in the 1980s and has grown to become a day of global celebration, education, and reflection on peace in local communities and throughout the world. The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All!”
Mechanicsburg, Ohio, a City of Peace was enacted on September 21, 2017. Initial inspiration came from the historical event in 1857, when the community of Mechanicsburg came together in support for Addison White. Today, Mechanicsburg Schools has a Life Skills program, a circle based group of students held once a week. This 3 step program starts in the Middle School and gives students the opportunity to discuss issues on coping with anger, resolving conflicts and making good decisions among many other issues.
There are over 182 cities of peace in 46 countries on 6 continents, it starts with one person and builds with collaboration and creativity. Did you know that Dayton, Ohio was the first City of Peace, Springfield, Ohio is #123, Urbana, Ohio is #140, and Mechanicsburg, Ohio is #174. Information can be found at www.internationalcitiesofpeace.org
No city is 100% a city of peace, rather all are on the path to “becoming” a more peaceful city. Establishing a community as a peace city recognizes past achievements, encourages current initiatives, and inspires future generations for practical peace building.
Debra Walters is a member of Champaign County Peace Alliance.