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International Day of Peace Celebrated at North Park

The Pittsburgh North People for Peace and the North Hills Anti-Racism Coalition sponsored the event, which several area organizations planned.

Even the Pittsburgh Steelers game could not pull peace lovers away from the sixth observance of the North Hills International Day of Peace Picnic.

The Sunday afternoon event at the Point Grove in  drew more than 100 people of various ages, ethnicities and hometowns.

The theme of the pacifist festival was “Make the World Smile." The Pittsburgh North People for Peace and the North Hills Anti-Racism Coalition sponsored the event, which several area organizations planned.

Though the official International Day of Peace is observed each Sept. 21, the groups that organize the event for North Hills prefer to celebrate the weekend before so more people can attend. 

“This is the third year we’ve done it in the park,” said Mary Sheehan, 71, of Ross. She is the co-founder of the Pittsburgh North People for Peace. “It’s a much better format. It’s fun, and all ages come. It really fits more with what a peace day should be.”

Attendees were given the challenge of finding people among the crowd who had performed specific green actions, such as having a compost pile or using energy-efficient light bulbs. The exercise allowed people to mix and talk about issues of environmental safety. 

Participants planted basil in recycled cups at a green-activity table. Several members of the community performed, and attendees joined hands in recognition of the recent death of a homeless woman.

“It’s nice to see other people that are also interested in promoting peace,” said Rachael Smart, 37, of Sewickley.

“I realize that coming here together is just people meeting, but you never know what could come of it," she said. "You might meet somebody who you find out is involved in a specific activity that you’re interested in.”

The keystone of the event was the presentation of 194 flags of the countries composing the United Nations. The Venture Crew 344 from Salem United Methodist Church in Wexford handled the flags.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing that they do,” said Nick Navarro, 59, of Wexford and member of the Venture Crew. “I don’t think it can hurt. The more you bring people together, I think, the better opportunity you have to make something happen.”

In between events, Celtic Woman's song “One World” played in the background.

“I don’t think there’s enough respect for each other like we should,” said Brenda Davis, 71, of Ross. A member of the North Hills Anti-Racism Coalition, she has been participating in the picnic for several years.

“I don’t have to agree with everybody, because I don’t agree with my sisters, and they don’t agree with me. We all have an opinion, but we have to respect each other’s opinion," she said.

"It’s the 21st century; we can definitely do better than we’re doing.”

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