The Chester County Peace Movement, a coalition of Pennsylvanians formed in 2002 in response to the threat of war against Iraq, held its First Annual Peace Week last week featuring concerts, films, an essay contest and a poetry reading.The organization?s goal is to provide a voice of unity to support all efforts for world peace, and specifically, to oppose the war in Iraq. The movement regularly hosts speakers, vigils and events in support of peace. Peace Week features a multitude of events in hopes to gather more interest in the movement and display a variety of outlets for expressions of peace.
Peace Week kicked off last Saturday with their weekly peace vigil in the morning in front of the courthouse, and the 10th Annual Chester County Race Against Violence presented by the Crime Victims? Center. There was also a concert to benefit war-torn Haiti at the Homeworks Gallery on Gay Street featuring a trio called “Who Needs Nigel” and the father-son duo of Matt and Tim Brown.
Events throughout the week included a showing of the film “Bringing Down a Dictator,” about the overthrow of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic by a peaceful revolution led by a student organization called “Otpor!” (Serbian for “resistance”), as well as a transformative speech writing workshop.
The workshop was led by John Meyer, the director for Religion & Social Issues Forum at Pendle Hill Quaker center for study and contemplation and involved exercises to teach participants to progressfrom anxious silence to “compassionate listening and truthful speaking about difficult issues.” Geared toward those who are tired of biting their tongues and feeling powerless in discussions about the war in Iraq, the workshop taught effective ways of presenting arguments and speaking up about these important issues.
The Chester County Peace Movement also sponsored a meditative garden walk, followed by the video “Quiet Revolution” and a discussion of peace and the environment on Thursday. The discussion was led by West Chester Friends teacher Kim Brosnan-Myers and her daughter, Hillary, both of whom worked in Kenya on a treeplanting safari. An evening of peace-inspired poetry took place on Friday, and Peace Week concluded with a variety of events on Saturday, including an Adopt-a-Highway event and work with Habitat for Humanity.
Saturday and Sunday also featured an exhibit titled “Whispers of Light Photographic Journey,” a “creative photographic journey through the eyes of Joshua Axelrod.” Axelrod, a passionate photographer, who has traveled to places ranging from Alaska to Peru to take photographs that “aim to share the intimate and sometimes hidden details of the earth and highlight the innate emotion that lies within nature.