Peace One Day is a grassroots organization with the goal of bringing about a World Peace Day on Saturday, Sept. 21, already known as the International Day of Peace. There will be events all over the planet on that day, including right here on Maui.
Peace Day Maui is a free, family-oriented event that will take place at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center this Saturday. There will a free movie screening of Eric Saperston’s 2001 film The Journey, which is an inspirational look at finding the meaning of life and success. Saperston will be there at the MACC to talk about his film. There will also be a teen vocal challenge guided by Joy Fields of “Maui Teens got Talent.” Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa will be there, too, revealing who he’ll make peace with.
Peace can be a powerful message. It can start small by making peace with a word, or involving bringing peace to the world. If this resonates with you, then Peace Day Maui wants you to join the conversation by sharing your statement of peace on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #peacedaymaui.
In the meantime, we asked several people around Maui what peace meant to them, and how we can change the world with peace.
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ALAN ARAKAWA–County of Maui, Mayor
Peace is much more than an attitude, it’s a way of life, one which can have dramatic impacts on the lives of others. When our first response to a potential conflict is to reflect on the situation instead of immediately reacting in anger, we offer ourselves and others the opportunity to elevate the exchange to one of mutual respect and productive communication.
Peace is not dependent on our circumstances, it’s a mindset that even though for the moment things appear to be in upheaval, we have the resources and tenacity to find a solution or to ask for help if we are out of resources ourselves.
The inner peace I draw on helps me to find balance even in an extraordinarily busy time of life. It also reminds me of the people who have taught me over the years that the key to conflict resolution unlocks the doors to many other positive and constructive conversations; discussions that would never have taken place had we not been able to put aside our differences to find shared concerns and desired outcomes.
If peace were a rainbow, I think it would encompass all of our experiences that have allowed us to gain a deeper and more colorful understanding of how peace brings light to us as individuals, and as a community.
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Peace looks like… really calm and peaceful. Like when you’re on the beach laying down and looking at the trees and eating a snack and listening to the waves and the people playing. You don’t look at them, you just look at the trees and eat your snack until you feel like you have a big burst of my energy and pop up and swim again!
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KATIE MCMILLAN–TEDxMAUI, founder
When I think of peace what comes to mind immediately for me is the image of a concert, with thousands of people feeling the collective joy induced by the sound of music. Music is one very effective tool in helping people express their joy. It can make a large crowd come together in an instant, as if suddenly our differences don’t matter. That is an expression of peace to me.
I think humans have an incredible capacity to give peace a chance. For most of us, it’s a choice. In every moment we can choose to create peace, even in the most challenging of circumstances. It’s a skill we can learn and constantly improve so that the outcome of peace is at the highest level of priority.
Peace begins from within. If I feel at harmony and have a healthy emotional balance then I’m at peace. The way that I interact with others invites them to act with peaceful intent as well. I also believe that what you put in your body is extremely important as pollution and chemical food not only causes physical disease, it causes emotional distress as well. If we want a peaceful world, we must ensure access to nutritious food and clean water and air at the very least.
Peace feels good. War, anger, conflict do not. Why would anyone want to live a life in conflict? I always strive to be at peace with myself. If I’m at peace with myself then I find it’s impossible to create conflict with others.
Maui is no different than the rest of the world. If we are in conflict, then our quality of life diminishes. We are impacted by conflict all over the world, even if we are lucky enough to just have to experience it on the news. I don’t know of anyone who feels joy after watching news of terrible conflict in other parts of the world.
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BRIAN NAGAMI–Maui Taiko, lead instructor
When I think of peace I think of happiness and health and more understanding between people. As a drumming group, Maui Taiko uses our music as a method of promoting peace. In 2012, our group travelled to the Tohouku region of Japan, which was devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters. During our trip, we shared our music with the people that we visited, we shared the Aloha spirit that we brought from Maui, and we shared the struggles of our own families through a film entitled Great Grandfather’s Drum which tells the story of immigration, World War II, and the preservation of culture from the perspective of the Japanese American community in Hawaii. Through learning about others and sharing about ourselves, we hope that people will discover that there are more similarities between the races, religions, and cultures of the world than differences. When we learn to see others as we see ourselves, we also learn to treat them as we want to be treated.
Peace is important because it cannot exist without happiness, stability, caring, prosperity, and life. When we don’t value peace, our lives are consumed by sadness, indifference, suffering, war, and death. Living in peace is probably the most important step in promoting a world of peace. Peace starts at home–with the interactions we have with our families, our friends, our neighbors, and ourselves.
Peace starts with me. I realize it’s likely a lifelong undertaking and a goal I may never achieve, but as long as I have the energy to struggle to find peace within me, I feel like I can help find it in others.
Peace affects Maui in many ways. It affects the number of visitors we have arriving on our shores, which directly influences the number of jobs available on the island. Peace also affects whether the goods we get shipped in arrive on time and therefore whether or not we have the resources to put food on our tables and gas in our cars. More dramatically, peace affects our freedom. In the past, times where we lacked peace created tension between ethnic groups, packed our shores with the U.S. military, affected what time our families were able to stay outside of our houses, resulted in environmental damage related to military training and bomb testing, limited our travel off island, and resulted in many families having to ship their youth off to war.
Peace is a heartbeat. It is the perpetual thumping of our everyday lives, and it is something that each of us has within her/himself. If we choose to, we can hear it within ourselves. And if we seek it out, we can hear it reproduced in the world around us. Peace is like the beat of a drum–it’s enjoyed much more when it’s shared.
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LYNN ARAKI-REGAN–Araki-Regan & Associates LLC, attorney
We must set the example if we want to live in a world that is peaceful, just and sustainable. Peace is tranquility, everyone working in harmony. Peace will ensure that our children and future generations will be able to live on this planet.
What will I make peace with? I made a sign that says “Balloonfish.” In intermediate school, way back when, boys would constantly tease me and say “balloon fish” because of my chubby cheeks. It obviously affected me as I remember the teasing to this day. I’m making peace with the past, and can just laugh it off, although back then I was nearly in tears.
Peace doesn’t have to be limited to world issues such as what is happening in Syria. It can be at home, in a classroom or in a club, at the park or among friends. Having peace is important for everyone, whether on Maui or Beyond. I envision people old and young, of all religions, of all races, coming together and holding hands. It’s a great feeling to feel and spread peace.
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ALLAN FARWELL–Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, general manager
Peace is a way of life on Maui. Our beautiful island provides us with an inherent feeling of tranquility that can be felt from the moment you arrive. We can give peace a chance if we continue to appreciate and learn from each other and respect differences as much as we embrace similarities. Our mixed cultural background on Maui is a wonderful blessing!
Most of the world’s problems relate to suspicion and distrust and those often result from misunderstanding cultural differences. We must challenge ourselves to embrace diversity. So we can enjoy our lives more and spend more time appreciating each other and all that we have.
Peace is stillness. Gratitude. Contentment. Conflict, at its core, is not an antagonist to peace. Disagreements and differences of opinion are how we grow and evolve. Creativity is sometimes born out of discomfort. I will make peace with my choices, my mistakes, missed opportunities, and focus more on my relationships, my beautiful memories and amazing possibilities.
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DEAN WONG–Imua Family Services, executive director
Here is what peace does not look like: children dying in school rooms, bombings in marathons, planes crashing into buildings, women and children being victims of violence, hate crimes and discrimination based on race and sexual orientation. What does peace look like? Living without fear.
Peace means non-violence, peace of mind and peace with one’s self. Peace requires tolerance, acceptance, being nonjudgmental and compassionate.
When there is an understanding that everyone has their own struggles in the world, that we are all inwardly struggling, we should be able to accept each other and know that sometimes what we see in others is a reflection of their own struggle. Since we don’t know with what a person is struggling with we should be careful not to judge them.
The opposite of peace or the lack of peace is too horrifying to think of. Peace starts from within. I will make peace with Equality. Maui is a community, small and separated from the masses, if we don’t have peace (if we are not pono) within our community we would not have Maui’s blessing to live on this aina. We need to be conscious of our relationships.
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CAROLYN QUAN–Maui Open Studio, producer
Peace starts with Individual humans looking within and finding peace within themselves. Once this is accomplished, it will spread to a community. From there it will spread to towns, cities, states, countries, continents and ultimately the world (and the Universe where peace already exists).
On a societal level, people could get involved in more social movements that are capable of educating all of humanity that our differences aren’t to be feared, but embraced and that violence and aggression only results in more violence and aggression and ultimately harms us all and brings less peace to the world and ourselves. On a personal level, I’ve learned that letting go and being okay with anything that happens in life brings a certain level of peace to one’s life. When one does not react in anger, violence, aggression, jealousy, resentment, etc. or fight with their own selves then it’s an easier life. Once peace is achieved on a personal level it will then spread to community and beyond as mentioned above.
Humans deal with enough internal turmoil that any outside stress from other people, their jobs, the world, etc. is just adding to their own internal struggles and that leads to an unnecessary amount of stress which in turn leads to poor health (mentally, emotionally and physically). Why do we cause stress for others?
Countries have the ability just like an individual to bring peaceful resolutions to situations. It’s important that people find love and love is nourished in peaceful environments. There’s too much anger in this world and people lashing out. Can’t we all just get along? Once we reach a peaceful self (whether it’s an individual or a country, etc.) we have the ability to reach a higher consciousness and attain more than can ever be imagined. Humanity becomes, as a whole, more whole and more loving. Let’s face it love feels good and lack of love does not. That is our human nature.
If everyone acted out of love all of the time, there would be peace.