International Day of Peace events celebrated in Asheville Sept. 19 and 21

Press release from event organizers:

International Day of Peace will be celebrated again this year in Asheville on September 19 and 21.

“Because of the increasing importance of peace in a troubled world that spills over into our local WNC area, this year two special speakers have accepted our invitation to speak of our country’s involvement in two volatile countries, Venezuela and Iran, ” spokesperson Rachael Bliss notes.

Daniel Kovalik, a human and labor rights lawyer living in Pittsburgh, will read from his recent book, The Plot of Overthrow Venezuela, at Malaprop’s on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 6 PM. He has been a peace activist throughout his life and has been deeply involved in the movement for peace and social justice in Colombia and Central America. He was an attorney for Colombian  Plaintiffs in cases alleging corporate complicity in egregious human rights violations. Kovalik, a 1993 graduate of Columbia Law School, was a co-recipient of the 2003 Project Censored Award for a story he co-wrote on the murder of trade unionists in Colombia.

Kathy Kelly has traveled to war zones and lived alongside ordinary people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Bosnia and  Nicaragua.  She and her companions in Voices for Creative Nonviolence believe the U.S. should end all U.S. military and economic warfare and pay reparations for suffering already caused by U.S. wars. She will speak Saturday, September 21, at Battery Park’s Rooftop Room at 1 pm about the dangers of war against Iran.

She has joined with activists in various regions of the U.S. to  protest drone warfare by holding demonstrations outside of U.S. military  bases in Nevada, California, Michigan, Wisconsin and Whiteman Air  Force base in Missouri.  In 2015, for carrying a loaf of bread and a letter across the line at Whiteman AFB she served three months in prison. She has served time in prison numerous times because of her acts of civil disobedience since the 1980s.

In addition to these events, participants will gather at 11:00 on Saturday, September 21 at the Elder and Sage Community Garden, at Page Street and Battery Square in Asheville. They will hear the 2019 Proclamation of Peace read by elected officials. They will also recognize the Peacemaker of the year. There will be time for meditation and music.

This year’s theme for International Day of Peace is Climate Action for Peace. The Asheville Sunrise Movement has been invited to participate in the September 21 event, one day after their mass rally at the Vance Memorial.

In addition to the above events, planners make the following requests for the success of the event:

  • Donate to VFP Chapter 099. You can send them to WNC 4 Peace at 75 Haywood St., Apt. 704, Asheville, NC  28801. Funds will be used to help defray the costs our speakers will have associated with their trip, promotions and award.
  • Volunteer to help promote the events. Especially needed are fhose who can help with social media, traditional media, flyers/posters, letters to editor, music, amplification, decorations, logistics and hospitality.
  • Organizers request participants who want to continue the celebration in the Battery Park Rooftop Room to bring finger foods for a reception there before Kelly begins her 1 pm presentation.

Sponsors so far are Veterans for Peace Chapter 099, Elder and Sage Community Garden and WNC 4 Peace. All International Day of Peace are open to the public with no admission charge.

In addition to event described above, Cynthia Calhoun is organizing an Peace Day in honor of an aunt who was killed in the recent mass shooting in El Paso. This event will take place at the Rainbow School Center beginning at 3:30 pm, and will include meditation, a peace panel and a mandala art show, among other activities.


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