Westchester – This week, around 50 people gathered in the historic courthouse to celebrate International Day of Peace.
This is the 10th time this event has taken place in Chester County and the 40th nationally.
Eric Riddick was released from prison on May 28 after being tortured and jailed for 29 years.
“The concept of peace is the idea of justice,” Riddick told an attentive audience.
Stopping hunger, unemployment and ignorance will bring peace, Riddick said. He also opposed the death sentence, which left prisoners behind jails for the rest of their lives, including the very young.
“The United Nations General Assembly has dedicated the International Day of Peace to strengthen its ideals of peace by monitoring non-violence and the 24-hour ceasefire.
The 2021 theme of this event is “Better recovery for a fair and available world”.
Kevin Patrick Kelly is MC and a member of the Chester County Peace Movement.
Kelly opposed the Pentagon’s “inflated” budget, which he called “shameful”. He pointed out a lot of things that could be funded with this money.
He spoke of the 20-year war in Afghanistan that President Biden “probably” ended.
“The people who opposed the war opposed the status quo in the name of peace,” Kelly said.
Gene Barr is President and CEO of Pennsylvania Business and Industry.
He said the key factors needed to establish peace are labor development, childcare and transportation.
Prisoners should not be refused work because of a criminal record.
“There is no reason why the mistakes you made 15 years ago should keep you from working,” he said.
Bushra Qureshi is president of the Islamic Society of Chester County.
“Peace is in turmoil,” she said. “There is so much confusion. “
She said women’s rights were ignored during the Me Too movement.
“If you save your life, it’s like saving all of humanity,” she said.
Westchester D-156 MP Diane Herin spoke about the environment.
“We have to make peas
With nature, ”Herrin said. “Despite the travel ban and the economic shutdown, climate change has not stopped.
“We need an environmentally friendly and sustainable global economy that creates jobs, reduces enrollments and builds resilience to climate impacts,” Herin said.
Carrie Pizzailo-Stare is an LGBTQ activist.
She said we can win peace by talking to each other, listening to each other and teaching each other that our differences make us stronger.
She advocates fighting in a way that others want to join you.
“Things are not as happy as we want them to be,” said Elgin Baily, a community activist and organizer.
He suggested having these “difficult” conversations with family and neighbors.
President Chris Barr of the Chester County Peace Movement said this has been a really tough year and a half.
“We have to be aware that we all have to work together,” he said. “I believe in the true goodness of humanity.
“Sweet words and gentle gestures are very helpful. “
Dolly Wideman-Scott received the 2021 Anne Moore Peace Prize from JPAC member Cathy Lakhoff. Weidman Scott is the CEO of the Chester County Domestic Violence Center.
“It takes a lot of hands to roll up the sleeves and work,” says Wideman-Scott.
She stood up and participated, advocating a call to action to “walk, not just talk”.