Pacifica Peace People, a local group dedicated to creating a culture of peace close to home, spent the past week, Peace Week, highlighting an important mission.
Between Sept. 15 and 22, the group placed an ad in the Pacifica Tribune, celebrated the installation of a peace pole at Sanchez Art Center, and hung a “Hate Has No Home Here” banner on the Pacifica Pier in cooperation with CODEPINK. The group could also be seen waving signs on Highway 1 on International Peace Day Sept. 21.
At the pier, the Pacifica Peace People distributed a flyer titled “No More Wars” that noted the United States has spent $21 trillion on wars since 9/11. The flyer suggested other uses for that money, including decarbonizing the U.S. electric grid for $4.5 trillion, erasing student debt for $1.7 trillion, extending the child tax credit for 10 years for $449 billion and guaranteeing preschool for 3- to 4-year-olds for 10 years while raising teacher pay for $220 billion.
The short program at the peace pole installation featured several speakers from Pacifica Peace People and songs dedicated to peace. The pole reads, “May peace be in our community.”
“We’ve been waiting a year to do this, to bring the message of peace,” said Cindy Abbott, who opened the program.
Sanchez Art Center artists, including Andrew Leone, painted rocks to go at the base of the peace pole.
“The Art Center is great for engaging with other groups in the community,” he said. “You can put art with everything.”
Abbott urged all not to lose compassion. “Climate change is the biggest challenge to peace,” she said.
Pacifica Peace People member Adrienne Zanini read the proclamation that City Council gave Pacifica Peace People recognizing their work in the community and International Peace Day, Sept. 21, 2021, at its last meeting. The proclamation recognized the work the group does to advocate for diplomacy and to seek peace in many ways.
The proclamation reads that this year’s theme of International Peace Day is “recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world” to urge all to address the suffering caused by COVID-19, racism, economic inequality and climate change.”
The proclamation also notes that the recent tragedies in Afghanistan have not resulted in a peaceful society but caused thousands of deaths and millions of displaced refugees.The proclamation states that encouraging policies that provide for living wages, affordable housing, food security and universal health care is an effective way of prioritizing people and their needs. The proclamation says the group stands up against hate online and in the real world.
“We are sitting on Ohlone land. The peace pole is an internationally recognized symbol to have people think about peace,” said co-president Carolyn Jaramillo. “May peace prevail on earth. Get out of your comfort zone.”
Pacifica Peace People member Linda Peebles opened up a conversation about peace. She quoted singer Judy Collins who said we have to have art, poetry and peace.
Andrew Leone said, after thinking about a way to do it, he successfully brought peace into his workplace by teaching art to college students at San Francisco’s City College.
Sheila Gamble Dorn said she came to the peace pole dedication to listen to songs and to hope for peace. She told a story at the event about how she got approval from the city to install three peace poles at Linda Mar Beach after she witnessed a youth throwing a rock at a bird that broke its wing. Children painted the peace poles with information about what habitats are on the beach to try and avoid more such assaults.
Co-president Delia McGrath closed the program with suggestions for participants to join other social service committees in Pacifica, such as the Climate Action Committee and Pacifica Social Justice.
McGrath said the intention of the activities was to cultivate a culture of peace in Pacifica.
“We recognize there are so many inequities caused by hatred and racism and greed and white supremacy,” she said. “These things generate negativity and harm. We are promoting peaceful events and trying to attract as many people as we can to create and sustain peace here.”
Why are Pacifica Peace People David and Linda Peebles so devoted to seeking peace?
“For decades I’ve seen
the sad and ugly ramifications of war with the loss of so many lives on both sides of the conflict often bringing death for years afterward,” said David Peebles. “Wars must end.”
Linda Peebles said it’s because the wars fought in her lifetime have not solved problems.
“Violence ultimately does not work to settle our differences whether we fight in foreign lands or in our own country,” she said. “Working for peace makes me feel good.”