special guest blog post by OPC intern Rachel Thomson
While we expect Tina Turner to roll us down the river, not all of us expect her to give us a beautiful peace mantra. But she does and it goes like this:
“May there be Well-Being in All / May there be Peace in All / May there be Fulfillment in All / May there be Auspiciousness in All / Om Peace, Peace, Peace.”
If you don’t believe us, go look up the video.
With this framework began the St. Mary’s Center/OPC celebration of the International Day of Peace, focused around a theme of “A Right to Peace.”
Our own Sandhya Jha opened the ceremony with a lovely open-eyed prayer. Rayna Smith, a partner of OPC and a worker at the Urban Peace Movement offered up a raw-yet-hopeful spoken word poem “Erase My Pain” on the violence, oppression, and pain that haunts many neighborhoods in Oakland. Art by Stephen O’Melveny, a recent employee at St. Mary’s lifted up the beautiful spirit of the employees that work there. A rendition of “Lean on Me” by the St. Mary’s choral group and recitation of Mother Teresa’s “Do It Anyway” by the Filipino community brought in the spirit of conjunctive work.
Even though all of our partners are struggling for different capacities – whether that be for affordable housing, ending urban violence, creating living wages, immigration reform, or the many, many other causes that the Oakland Peace Center represents – it was truly lovely to be shown through the different program participants that in reality, our causes are the same. We fight the same battles, just on many different battlefields. All of the problems that we work to end are interconnected and none of them can be solved in a vacuum without the others. We can all agree that there is a fundamental “Right to Peace,” and that we all work with that goal in mind. Which is why we can join with Tina in wishing “Well-being, peace, fulfillment, and auspiciousness” in all of us.