(May 14, 2018) Catherine Read interviews Jessica Lee, founder of Community Peace Network, regarding their upcoming Walk For Peace and Unity, and Margaret Fisher, founder of the Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County. They share information about their programs, and what drives them to both pursue and celebrate peace.
In the first segment Catherine speaks with Jessica Lee, founder of the Community Peace Network. Her group is organizing the upcoming Walk for Peace and Unity, to take place on June 2nd in front of the White House. Their event is designed to coincide with the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Lee was inspired to plan this walk in light of the recent developments on the Korean Peninsula. Jessica’s family has their own tragic story of separation, as her grandfather and his brother were separated during the Korean War, over 68 years ago. The prospect of peace and unification is a strong desire for so many in the Korean community, and Lee hopes to galvanize support during this unique moment in time. Although there are many variables and unknowns as this process unfolds, their goal is to bring the Korean community together to celebrate the prospect of peace, and encourage people to open their hearts and minds to the possibilities it holds.
The Community Peace Network is planning a celebration of the Korean community on June 2nd in front of the White House. Artists, musicians and speakers will add a festive nature to the event. Participants can signup via the website through an Eventbrite link, so the planners can do the best possible job to anticipate the size of the crowd and the needs of the participants. Their goal is to show solidarity with the Korean people, and support peace and unity, in whatever form it takes.
In the second segment, Catherine speaks with Margaret Fisher, co-founder of the Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County. Since 2006, her organization has recognized high school juniors and seniors who work as peacemakers, and have made a positive contribution to their school or the wider community by promoting mutual understanding and respect for all people. They award gifts to students throughout the 31 public high schools in Fairfax County, as well as a handful of private schools who participate in the program. Each school puts forward one student from their community that has demonstrated acts of peace. This recognition award is a wonderful way for these students to share what they have learned in their work to make this world a better place. Whether it is a student working to make the school community a safer and more peaceful place through acts of loving kindness, or it is one who is working with a non-profit like Amnesty International to fight injustice around the world, each of these students have made a lasting impact on those around them.
Fisher heads the nonprofit group, comprised of a volunteer board and supported by many local faith organizations. After the individual schools identify the award winner, a board member will visit each student in order to better understand their story. At the end of the academic year, the students receive a $200 reward for themselves as well as $100 to go towards any non-profit organization or project they have worked on. All award recipients are invited to attend a reception sponsored by the organization, as well as being recognized at their own high school awards banquets. The program is designed to promote peace and highlight students who go above and beyond to demonstrate peace or non-violent conflict resolution. Fisher adds that she is excited that this program is being replicated in Frederick, MD and hopes that more school systems will adopt similar programs throughout the country.