Expressions of peace
|||Achieving peace starts with each one of us|
By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Zenaida Serrano
Alisa Boland's artwork carries a message as simple as it is poignant.
Alisa, 8, drew two little hands holding a snow globe of the world.
Written across the poster in vivid orange, yellow, green and purple: "Peace is fragile."
The 'Iolani School third-grader's artwork will be among more than 200 "Expressions of Peace" art contest entries to be displayed today at the state Capitol as part of Peace Day Hawai'i; today also is the United Nations' International Day of Peace, celebrated by more than 200 countries worldwide.
Peace Day Hawai'i activities include a forum on what Hawai'i can bring to peacemaking, a tree-planting ceremony to commemorate peace between nations and people, and a candlelight ceremony.
In April, Gov. Linda Lingle signed a Peace Day bill into law, establishing a day to be observed by promoting peace programs, improving international relations and increasing educational awareness of peace.
Hawai'i will become the first state in the nation to annually celebrate its own Peace Day, said Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu, D-41st (Waipahu, Village Park, Waikele).
"Awareness is one thing," said Karamatsu, who introduced the bill on behalf of the Hawai'i Federation of Junior Young Buddhist Association. "We're trying to get the public to recognize how to get involved."
Whether donating to orphanages overseas, volunteering for a local organization that helps victims of violence or learning about conflict resolution in school, there are many ways that individuals can encourage peace, Karamatsu said.
"Part of (Peace Day) is to show unity," he said. "We all have a common goal of working together to see less violence in society, less violence in the world."
Other Peace Day Hawai'i activities include a statewide moment of prayer for peace, entertainment by Raiatea Helm and students from Hongwanji Mission School, and a ceremony to recognize peace-promoting individuals, such as the late U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga.
The Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace, an academic program at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, is a key partner in coordinating the events and planning for the inaugural Peace Day Hawai'i.
The institute was named in honor of Matsunaga, whose wish was for Hawai'i to become a sanctuary for seekers of peaceful ways and traditions, organizers said.
The "Expressions of Peace" display — which includes nearly 300 posters, paintings, essays and poems — will be among the event highlights; winners of the contest will be named during today's festivities.
Entries came from residents of all ages, including Landen Manny, 6, whose idea of peace is spending quality time with loved ones.
His watercolor painting shows him on a fishing trip with his family — a favorite pastime for the Palolo Elementary School first-grader.
"It makes me feel peaceful," Landen said with a little voice.
Denise Dion-Scoyni, 48, of Kilauea, Kaua'i, submitted an acrylic painting featuring a peace sign and anthuriums. The heart-shaped flowers represent the branches of government and "the heart of the Hawaiian citizens," said Dion-Scoyni, who teaches art at Kula Elementary, Intermediate & High School.
Observing Peace Day Hawai'i "is so important, especially in today's world," Dion-Scoyni said. "It's something positive."
Alisa Boland, the 'Iolani third-grader, said she hopes Peace Day gets people to start thinking about a better world.
"In a perfect world, there would be no people fighting," Alisa said.
Reach Zenaida Serrano at firstname.lastname@example.org.