Last weekend, the South Country Peace Group, Suffolk Progressive Vision, North Country Peace Group, Women in Black, Code Pink and Veterans for Peace joined together to host Sayville’s own chapter of the United Nations International Day of Peace (World Peace Day) at the Common Ground on Candee Avenue. Adorned with a dozen flags promoting the goal of world peace, the Common Ground’s gazebo was transformed into a platform for local activists.
Event organizer Carol Kolar provided introductions for all speakers and performers, remarking how this year’s theme, “Climate Action For Peace,” had really affected the young people in attendance whose schools had been educating them on the cumulatively dangerous effects of single-use plastics. Noting international youth activist phenom, Greta Thunberg, as a source of great inspiration, Kolar said, “This year the students will be writing to local legislators and elected officials to let their voices be heard on how they wish to see climate change initiatives enacted in their own communities, as they will be the future stewards.”
A popular poster contest is held every year by Sayville’s World Peace Day organizers, where students compete for the chance to install a peace pole in their neighborhood as a reminder to others of the gravity of the goal. Logan Lessing, whose intergalactic-inspired poster won two years ago, had proudly installed the peace pole in the Common Ground. Logan recounted an exciting Town Hall meeting where the Islip Board voted unanimously for the installation of his peace pole.
Camillo Mac Bica, Veterans for Peace chairman and School of Visual Arts philosophy professor, spoke of the military-industrial complex’s undeniably significant role in climate destruction, noting his own participation in the deployment of 90 million gallons of Agent Orange over 6 million acres of previously pristine farmland in Vietnam.
“War has become antiseptic. War has been mythologized… but war annihilates the environment,” Bica concluded, bringing the themes of the event into the grim circle of reality.
The evening was not all somber, as Kolar had also organized musical performances. Shannon Gibbons of the popular band, Om-en, performed an inspiring set and event-goers were treated to organic, plant-based treats. Suffolk County Water Authority provided reusable metal canteens as part of their broader initiative to limit single-use plastic with the installation of water fountains throughout the community. n