The event, organized by the local Stand 4 Peace
group, featured remarks from Stand4Peace co-founder Karen Wooldridge, as well as City Councilmember Hildy Stern, MBUSD Superintendent John Bowes, and California Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi; as well as music by Katherine Terrien.
The remarks were followed by a moment of quiet reflection at noon, the international time at which all International Day of Peace ceremonies recognize a moment of silence.
This year's International Peace Day theme created by the United Nations - "End Racism, Build Peace" - is particularly poignant locally, where multiple instances of hate graffiti
have marred the local schools and caused community anguish in recent months.
Those incidents "highlight the need for all of us to join together in combating hate and
promoting peace locally here in Manhattan Beach," Bowes told the crowd. "It is a great opportunity for all of us to reaffirm our commitment and to work side by side to create an inclusive community
that we all aspire to - a community where everyone is welcome."
Stern, who brought the pole to the city as of her first acts as mayor in 2021, said that she did so to join "the hundreds of thousands of
other cities and communities around the world who have also embraced
this important United Nations project."
Stern added, "While it is our hope that our
community will gather here on every International Day of Peace, I think
the peace pole will have far-reaching and even greater impacts."
Stern recalled a woman she met on the Greenbelt who told her, "I pass [the peace pole] every day, twice a day, with my dog, and it really grounds me -
and it really reminds me of finding a peaceful place in my own heart."
Wooldridge noted that her organization's "call to action" is: "It just takes one second, one minute, one hour, one day at a time, for a note of gratitude, for a moment of deep listening, one courageous conversation, one act of kindness, and/or one heartfelt connection to truly make a difference."
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the U.N. General Assembly. In September 2001, U.N. Resolution 55/82 declared September 21 as the official International Day of Peace and an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence, aimed at inspiring positive action to take place in homes, schools and communities. The day is supported by every member state of the United Nations, along with the U.S. Congress and Senate.
The local Stand 4 Peace organization aims to be impartial and independent of any government, political persuasion, corporation or religion.
In previous years, Stand 4 Peace participants have spelled out "HOPE" and "PEACE" in the sand at the Manhattan Beach Pier. The group this year donated photos of those events to the Manhattan Beach City Hall.