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Peace Event



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Paul Hillman

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Celebration of the United Nation’s declared International Day of Peace, Sept. 21, 2012, 6:00-10:00 PM

peacePlace is a 100 year old house in the Woodland historic district of downtown Phoenix. It is also the home/office of the Cultural Arts Coalition, celebrating its 8th year of recognizing this day in a community setting of Phoenix, Arizona.

The first task was for arriving guests to write intentions for acts of peace building they will support and promote during the coming year.

These were hung in the front yard trees near the peace pole to carry the wishes up to the heavens.

All ages came to the evening event: 3 weeks young to mid 60’s in the spirit of being present to give gratitude for all we have and to share dialogue and compassion with others.

The evening began with Melanie Ohm, co-founder/co-director of the Cultural Arts Coalition welcoming everyone; thanking our supportive board members and introducing the context of the focus for the evening.

Maria Rodriquez-Pope whose visual arts fill the space provided information about her life as an Argentinean refugee who survived the dirty wars in her country and became an artist and a poet. We were very fortunate to have her read one of her poems in Spanish and English about a female warrior who holds peace in her heart for all…The room was still and in awe of Mari’s artistic gifts.

Patrice Stewart who only recently joined our family of peace builders sang original songs about creating a world of peace; and honoring diversity throughout the world as a means to bridge respect and honor to all of us.

Keith Johnson, drummer and percussionist extraordinaire, and Pegge Vissicaro, ASU dance professor, facilitated a movement activity to get us warmed up….Pegge brought six of her dance students with her to experience this community engagement/building night of collaboration.

This was an unbelievable community interaction program where everyone participated!!!!

Moving into the garden gave space for everyone to dance to the drumming and beat of hand held shekeres facilitated by Muslimah Hameed who always inspires one’s body to utilize every muscle in response to the complex and pulsating rhythms.

The night air was full of loving breezes; and our bodies moved to its energetic flow of currents moving through the sky.

Muslimah, Pegge, Keith and Ken Koshio, who had only returned from Japan the night before.

Food is a stable at any community event and there were lots of nutritious vegetarian pizzas, slices with the meats, fresh fruits, and of course chips and salsa.

We could not function without the youth energy and guidance of our two board members Francisco Flores and Dulce Juarez. What gifts to our world these two young people bring. Mucho Gracias...

This dear family filled our evening with joy as we watched the young son explore everything his little heart chose to touch and experience. Lesley carried her 3 week old daughter close to her heart, blessing our space with the future of new life. The background mural was painted by my son, Michael Butzine.

C-c Braun is the Director of Body Song Dance Company, Sierra Linda High School - Since its opening C-C has brought her students to Cultural Arts Coalition events to enrich our lives with their youthful presence and creative dances. Thank you ladies.

These same young dancers moved us to the front yard to dedicate the peace pole. Unfortunately Holly Parsons, CAC Board Member & creator of the dedication poem, could not be with us so Melanie Ohm read it in her absence.

The dancers interpreted the poem's meaning through improv movement.

Dedication to Peace

We gather here in honor to state

‘Unified in peace we choose to create

A tangible testament

An intention for all

Hewn from nature’s core

She transmits

Day and night,

Through joy and fright

In darkest light

May the power of peace we submit to your care

Ignite the graceful right of circular flight

May your wisdom raise our plight

To see beyond the fight

Sacred respite

Guide our sight

For peace is might’

Holly Parsons 2012

Keiko Conn continued the dedication of the pole and peacePlace with a traditional Hawaiian Hula and the placing of a flowered lei she made for the event.

Once again the night was given Blessings from a mortal to carry into the heavens and surround the earth for all to benefit. The hula was the physical manifestation of movement that thoughtfully led us to our personal meditation time.

Francisco lead us: holding one hand over our hearts and the other touching the shoulder of the person next to us, we created a circle. We reflected on all that had transpired throughout the evening in love and compassion for the rest of the world to receive...

Our Heritage of Peace We give to you the Universe. May Peace Prevail Upon the EArth for all; and let it begin with me!

Photo narrative by judy butzine, CAC co-founder/co-director September 23, 2012