KITIMAT DECLARED A ROTARY PEACE COMMUNITY
The evening started with food in the Mount Elizabeth High School’s cafeteria, Filipino kabobs, pizza. The ladies from the Sikh temple spent the morning making samosas which they kindly donated for everyone to enjoy. It was a nice gathering, a chance to wander and chat with friends and catch up. Some of our Rotarian friends from Terrace came over to join in the festivities.
We then moved into the Mount Elizabeth Theatre for the formal evening program starting off with the drumming and singing of the Spirit of the Kitlope Dancers, and a message from our Haisla neighbor, Shelley Bolton. Her words were inspiring as she talked about the need for peace in our multicultural community, how we need to raise and teach our children to understand and learn about each others culture, and the need to pave a path of hope for them to follow that will lead to peace.
Everyone then followed the two giant Peace Dove Puppets, carried by Kitimat Rylarians, and the Spirit of the Kitlope Dancers for the making of our fourth annual human Peace Sign. The winds were high, as were the spirits of young and old, and we kept ourselves moving thanks to the beat of the Haisla drums!
We returned to the theatre to enjoy Susie Smeader’s band singing Imagine and We are the World and a children’s choir singing of a children’s peace song.
Our MLA Robin Austin shared thought provoking words, something we all know, how fortunate we are to live in Kitimat, in B.C., in Canada where we sometimes take peace for granted. He asked us to think about what we can do to foster peace in other parts of the world, to encourage our international leaders to foster peace.
The highlight of the evening was the declaration’s official signing by Mayor Joanne Monaghan, Councilors Councilors: Edwin Empinado, Mary Murphy, Corrine Scott, Phil Germuth, Mario Feldhoff and Rob Goffinet and Rotarian’s Margaret Warcup and Eleanor Kendell.
Written into the declaration are the four Rotary Peace R’s: ‘Respect for culture, diversity and the dignity of every person without discrimination or prejudice, Rejection of violence towards all people in all of its forms, Resolution of conflict in local and global communities and Reconciliation of differences in the pursuit of harmony.’
Mayor Monaghan told about people in different places throughout our world and what they were doing to celebrate “Peace Day” She thanked Rotary for bringing our Rotary Peace Communities initiative home to our community and noted how happy she was to sign the document.
In true Rotary tradition, we all sang our Rotary peace song together, leaving the theatre with smiles and caring in our hearts—Let There be Peace on Earth.
To all Rotarians in the Rotarian Action Group for Peace, Eleanor Kendell, chair of the Kitimat Peace Community, would like to share a cut and paste from an e-mail sent to her by Kalyan Banerjee. She had the good fortune to meet up with him in the lobby in Bangkok at the 2012 R.I. Convention.
She thinks it sums up the spirit behind what the Rotary Club of Kitimat has been doing and why.
“…I was delighted to learn about your peace story. That is the way to go as you work for Peace through Service. If each community – each Kitimat – will want and work for peace in our world, peace will surely become a reality.
Please keep up your great work.
Eleanor’s comment? Rotary Peace Communities are certainly a great “way to go” Rotary friends. What a great world if would be if every city that holds a Rotary Club were one!
She adds: Particular thanks to go Anna Jurak, (Windsor, Ont.), Geoffrey Little, (Wagga Wagga, Austrailia), Jeffrey Reiss (Koh Samui, Thailand), Dean Rohrs, (Vancouver), Wilf Wilkinson, (Woodstock, ON), Roger Cram, (Hiram, Ohio) Barshir El-Khalafawi (Parksville, BC) for their advise, help and support over the past four years as we journeyed to make this Rotary Peace vision a reality.