Tri-Co Peace Week, now with more Tri-Co

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

In the third year of Swarthmore’s Peace Week, founded by Brandon Lee Wolff in 2005, Wolff is proud of increased Tri-Co involvement.

Wolff started with the idea of a two-day Peace Festival at his high school in 2001, but ever since the original idea of promoting peace in schools and local communities has expanded; Wolff spoke at the kick-off for Bucks County Peace Week earlier this week, and the second Tri-Co Peace Week has a program of events that look at peace both a local and global scale.

What’s so peaceful about this week in particular? “We’ve done it this week every year,” says Wolff, “because Wednesday the 4th is the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, and Friday the 6th is the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.” Both events will be commemorated during the week.

According to Wolff, this year students can look forward to increased Tri-Co cooperation and accessibility. “We have a very strong involvement from Bryn Mawr.” The Peace Week logo, which accompanies the article, was actually designed by Bryn Mawr student Jessamine Kelley ’10.

Wolff stressed that “this is also the first year that we have Blue Bus transportation built into our schedule.” Instead of having to wait for small vans at inconvenient times, large buses will be leaving before large events in order to transport students from Swarthmore to the Bi-Co and vice-versa. Schedules have also been set “in order to encourage people to attend multiple events on the same day.”

“We’re trying to have events that unite and bring together the three schools,” said Wolff. One of these is Friday’s kick-off event, “Peace Through Music,” which will bring together dance and a-capella groups from all three schools in Upper Tarble.

Another is the Walk for Peace at Bryn Mawr on Saturday. Javier Camacho ’09, Swarthmore Coordinator for Peace Week, explained that “there will be different action stations from different school and community organizations where you can sign petitions or write letters or take other sorts of action.”

The finale event will also unify all three schools in an event remembering the 13th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide and discussing how we can work to stop the genocide in Darfur.

Two on-going events will be located in the Shane Student Lounge: a photo exhibit of places around the world sponsored Amnesty International and a clothing drive for Sierra Leone sponsored by Rotaract.

Camacho became involved because he was part of the Ring board. He came to the first planning meeting and had to leave early, and just as he was getting up to leave Brandon was asking who wanted to be the Swarthmore Coordinator. “I said sure,” remembered Camacho. “It’s been a lot of work, but it’s exposed me to how all these things tie together.”

The events of Peace Week deal with many different issues, and Camacho explained that “violence can be practiced in so many ways… as long as you believe that your event is promoting peace against violence, that’s amazing… a lot of organizations are really thinking outside of the box.”

More examples of thinking outside of the box include The Philadelphia Connection event on Thursday, which addresses rising school violence in Philadelphia. Wolff says, “I think it’s important to educate about local violence as well as about global violence.” Participants will learn about the issues and then paint a peace mural.

How can you continue promoting peace after Peace Week is over? Wolff recommended an event with Lang Visiting Professor George Lakey, who is conducting a training in techniques to promote peace and non-violence at Haverford on Wednesday. Although Lakey wants people to show up at the event open to anything, attendees are advised to wear comfortable clothes.

A more detailed schedule of events can be seen at http://www.peaceweek.org/tri-co/index.php

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