The Peterborough Peace Council, which will be holding its 96th monthly vigil next Monday (March 27), intends to form the first Ontario chapter of the global World Beyond War movement.
Formed in November 2014 to foster compassionate non-violent direct action and conflict resolution through information sharing, the Peterborough Peace Council began hosting a monthly vigil for peace eight years ago, on the corner of George and MacDonnel streets, from noon to 1 p.m. on the last Monday of every month.
According to a media release, the group has never missed a monthly vigil, despite sleet and snow, extreme summer heat, and even a windstorm that nearly carried their banner away. They continued to hold the vigil during the pandemic, keeping physical distance and wearing masks.
While the monthly vigil will continue, the Peterborough Peace Council has decided the vigil is “not enough”, according to the media release.
The group will apply to form a local chapter of World Beyond War “to promote public discussion about who benefits from war, and to document creative and effective responses to conflict when nations commit not to meet violence with further violence, but to find another way.”
Founded in 2014, World Beyond War is a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace. The organization has 22 chapters in 12 countries and maintains partnerships with 97 affiliates around the world. The Peterborough Peace Council would represent the organization’s first chapter in Ontario.
Along with the monthly vigil and the intent to form a local chapter of World Beyond War, the Peterborough Peace Council is hosting two upcoming events.
On Thursday, May 11th, the group will host a presentation by a speaker from the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace to “reclaim” Mother’s Day, which originally was conceived to be a day of peace.
Mother’s Day was founded by an American woman named Anna Jarvis in 1905, the year her mother Ann Jarvis died. A peace activist and community organization, Ann Jarvis had cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War during the 1860s and, along with another peace activist and suffragette named Julia Ward Howe, had been urging the creation of a “Mother’s Day For Peace,” where mothers would ask that their husbands and sons were no longer killed in wars.
The Peterborough Peace Council will also again host the annual lantern ceremony on Sunday, August 6th, the day in 1945 when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Japan. The ceremony will renew the call to make the use of nuclear weapons unthinkable, and for Canada to sign on to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
For more information about the Peterborough Peace Council, visit their Facebook group.