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REPORTING · 29th September 2012
Walter McFarlane
The Rotary Club of Kitimat once again celebrated the International Day of Peace in Kitimat on Friday, September 21st. The day not only marked the International Day of Peace but also marked Kitimat Council declaring Kitimat to be a Rotary Peace Community.

The evening began with Dinner, served by food Venders at the Mount Elizabeth Cafeteria. Once people were finished eating, everyone piled into the Mount Elizabeth Theatre for the presentations. The ceremony began with the Spirit of the Kitlope Dancers.

Shelley Bolton welcomed everyone on behalf of the Spirit of the Kitlope Dance Group and the Haisla Nation. “Living in a multicultural community, there is a great need to bring peace. With that, we need to be open minded and bridge that gap between us and learn and understand each other’s cultures. We need to raise and teach our children who will one day be leading our communities and make sure this road is paved in hopes that they will follow in peace. Tonight we are here from many different walks of life, but in that same breath, we are all people.” said Bolton.

Following Bolton, those assembled were led out of the theatre to create the human peace sign. Leading the procession were the Peace Doves and the Spirit of the Kitlope Dancers.

The show continued inside afterwards. Songs of peace were sung and speakers got up to speak.

The first speaker after the peace sign was the Member of the Legislative Assembly, Robin Austin. He expressed Kitimat is a community where we take peace for granted, much like clean air and clean water. Austin explained there are many places in the world where there is conflict.

“We need to think about what we can do, as Canadians and as British Columbians, to foster peace in other parts of the world because if we are fortunate to have peace, that gives us a great position of strength. To go out and share our ideas, to try and encourage our political leaders to foster peace in the United Nations so countries don’t end up in war and don’t end up having to deal with horrible famines and people displaced who can’t go to school and all of the tragedies which come about because of conflict,” said Austin.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) youth stepped up next to present the Rotary Peace words: Police, Education, Armed Services, Civic Community and Environment.

They were followed by the signing of a declaration declaring Kitimat a Rotary Peace Community. Mayor Joanne Monaghan and the Kitimat City Councillors each got up to sign the document. When they were finished, the document was signed by members of the Rotary Club of Kitimat, Eleanor Kendal who is the Chair of the Peace Committee and Rotary Kitimat President Margaret Warcup.

Written into the declaration were the four Rotary Peace R’s: ‘Respect for culture, diversity and the dignity of every person without discrimination or prejudice, Rejection of violence towards all people in all of its forms, Resolution of conflict in local and global communities and Reconciliation of differences in the pursuit of harmony.’

Each of the City Councillors was given a Rotary Peace Community Presentation Award given in recognition of the declaration of Kitimat becoming a Rotary Peace Community. It contained the four R’s as well. It thanked them for making the program successful and advancing peace.

“I value what is written there because, without question, our Council is making every effort to work with Rotary and many other organizations in Kitimat to make our town so much better,” said Kendal.

Monaghan got up next to speak. “It means a lot to think about peace around the world and there are so many people who don’t know what peace is. We have an opportunity to do peace […] with not only yourself but the world and the people within the world,” said Monaghan.

Monaghan told those assembled what people around the world were doing to make their mark for peace. She stated all people of Kitimat would thank Rotary for bringing peace to the town. She was happy to have signed the document.

Everyone was invited to sing the song “Let Peace Begin on Earth” as they left the theatre. They were also invited to hug or shake the hand of the people around them.