There was a good representation of Blue Mountain High School (BMHS) students who traveled from Floyd to attend the Youth Peace Summit in Roanoke on Saturday. The day-long event was hosted by the Plowshare Peace and Justice Center at the Unitarian Universalist Church.
Workshops included Singing for Social Change, Conflict Resolution, Yoga and Meditation, Drama for Peace, How to Use Social Media for Peace Activism, Making Origami Cranes for Peace, Celebrating Diversity and more.
We missed a Perspective from a Military Veteran presentation and other morning workshops, arriving in time for the afternoon Qigong workshop that my husband Joe (BMHS director) led in the sunshine amongst blooming daffodils and green grass in the front of the church.
A few of the BMHS students acted as youth organizers. They helped to organize and promote the event, find speakers and co-lead workshops. Nolan Wages (left), one of the youth organizers, helped set up the Youth Peace Summit Facebook page and co-led a workshop about the Islam religion with Saleem Ahmed, a native Pakistani Muslim.
During an origami workshop, youth organizer Jackson Wages told the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who was exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing on Hiroshima. Sasaki developed leukemia and was inspired by the ancient Japanese legend of being granted a wish after folding 1000 origami cranes. Plowshare Peace Center’s Polly Branch (pictured standing) talked about why Japan chose not to have a standing army after World War II. Watch HERE.
I wanted to learn how to make this origami starflower but got lost in all that folding.
I was moved by the sharing in a dialogue about discrimination and bullying towards people in the LGBT community. This workshop was led by members of the Roanoke Diversity Center.
The close of the day was highlighted with a rousing rap performance by BMHS students and Singing for Social Change workshop leader (and BMHS dad) Craig Green. Watch it HERE.
“Anyone who thinks ending war is naïve hasn’t put enough thought into it. What’s naïve is to think that wars can continue and humanity will survive. You don’t have to convince every single person for dramatic change to occur; you just have to convince enough people. Think about the civil rights movement and the women’s suffrage movement. Truth was on their side. How will we win? We have the truth.” ~ Paul K. Chappell, an Iraq war veteran whose video was played at the Youth Peace Summit during a workshop titled Perspectives from a Military Veteran.
Post Note: An adapted version of the above recently appeared in The Floyd Press newspaper.