By Andy Smith
Glance at the headlines these days, and the prospects for peace look pretty bleak. Iraq, Syria, Gaza and the Ukraine don’t create grounds for much optimism.
But Ginny Fox, executive director of the Peace Flag Project, said that’s no reason not to keep working for peace, particularly in our own lives and communities.
Fox said there’s a lot of good that goes on in the world that never gets reported, since the absence of conflict is rarely considered news.
“We’re trying to focus on what’s good, to foster what’s good. It can give people a different perspective on the world,” Fox said.
The Peace Flag Project was inspired by Tibetan prayer flags. The Project is sponsoring a month-long series of events throughout the state, an expanded commemoration of the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21.
Some of the events are sponsored by the Peace Flag Project itself; the Project will also have a presence at several upcoming events sponsored by other organizations, such as the Slater Park Fall Festival in Pawtucket Saturday and Sunday, Riverfest by Day in Woonsocket on Saturday, the Day of Honor Sunday at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, and the Heritage Festival at Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence on Sept. 20.
Beginning tomorrow, the Peace Flag Project will present a Peace Art Exhibit at the Atrium Gallery at the First Unitarian Church of Providence at One Benevolent St. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Peace Flag Project and the Providence Community Libraries offer workshops for people of all ages to make their own flags. Some libraries have already held their workshops; the remaining ones are Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. at the Smith Hill Library, Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m. the Wanskuck Library, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. at the Fox Point Library, Sept. 23 at 4 p.m. at the South Providence Library and Sept. 24 at 4 p.m. at the Olneyville Library.
On Sept. 19, the Peace Flag Project will take part in PARK(ing) Day Providence, in which organizations turn parking spaces into tiny parks. Check out the Peace Flag Project “Parklet” at 347 Broadway, at Knight Street.
That evening, there will be a Voices for Peace Concert with musicians, singers, storytellers and more, beginning at 7 p.m. at The Avenue Concept, 304 Lockwood St., Providence. Performers will include storyteller Valerie Tutson, drummer Sharif, poet Sussy Santana, spoken word artists Rudy Cabrera and B-Mor 7, plus dance group Funky Friday and poetry readings from Hope High School students.
On Sept. 20, the Peace Flag Project will hold its 10th annual peace walk in downtown Providence. Walkers will assemble at Memorial Park Green on South Main Street from 3 to 4 p.m., then walk through Waterplace Park to the Wall of Hope tunnel at Union Station Plaza from 4 to 6 p.m.
The walk is timed to allow participants to attend the FirstWorks Urban Carnevale at the Bank of America City Center skating rink.
On Sept. 21, there will be an interfaith peace gathering in (appropriately) Peace Dale, sponsored by the Unitarian Congregation of South County in which children and youth will walk with peace flags to the village green.
On Sept. 23, RICJ (Rhode Island for Community and Justice), a youth group, will hold a program at URI’s Paff Auditorium, 80 Washington St., Providence, to celebrate peace day with songs, spoken word and other performing arts.
For more information, go to the Peace Flag Project’s Facebook page.