Friday, October 10, 2014

Peace Week 2014- The Peace Team Story

September 11-September 21(International Day of Peace);  PEACE WEEK @ Casady School11 Days of Global Unity

Upon their return from the National Service Learning Conference in Washington D.C. where the teen team  showcased Peace Week 2013 @ Casady School, the teen peace makers planned and implemented personal initiatives during the 11 Days of Global Unity 2014.  

Peace Team @ DC's National Service-Learning Conference with Vice-President of Shinnyo-en Foundation and Casady Teacher Showcasing his service project, Fair Trade Chocolate

September 8:

 Johnny L. promoted Peace One Day and called for intentional acts of kindness, compassion and service during the 11 Days of Global Unity 9/11-921.  He presented the following video @ chapel.

September 10:

The Peace Team had a Skype session with the Peace One Day Education Ambassador who listened to team's personal initiatives and suggested to document actions taken during Peace Week and Peace Day.

September 11

Ananya B. and Johnny L. presented a video to promote unity and advocate acts of kindness compassion and service during the week.  The goal was to raise awareness of the 11 Days of Global Unity, Peace Day, and the Compassion Games.

Johnny L. also promoted in chapel planting of seedlings donated by the Oklahoma Department of Forestry on 9/21/2014 to connect to the ENO Online Programme Initiative of planting 100 million trees by 9/21/2017.

In the month of June, Ananya  B. connected to the the incentive of $ 1 per pinwheel made for Pepper's Ranch during Peace Week.  Casady delivered over 1000 pinwheels to Pepper's Ranch. Pepper's ranch is centered on taking orphaned foster children out of the OKC foster system and housing them until they find forever families or are adopted. They currently house 75 children, and are looking to expand their numbers to 100.

500 pinwheels were made by high school students. Pinwheels were made by Spanish I and II classes, led by Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Clay and the freshman English classes led by Mrs. Crossno and Mrs. Finley. 

Other pinwheels were made by the MD language classes, facilitated by Mrs. Robertson, Mr. Chaverri,  Miss Castro and Mr. Pardue. 


80 pinwheels were made at Summer by the Lake classes facilitated by Peace Team members Johnny L. Ananya B. Turner W. and Carmen Clay, Service-Learning Director.  The children watched on a Paper Crane, Tomoko's Adventure and a brief trailer of Peace One Day after and before making pinwheels.  In the summer, in addition to Summer By the Lake pinwheel making, Peace Team members, Johnny L. and Turner W. made and donated over 200 pencil pinwheels and raised awareness of the International Day of Peace at a family fair sponsored by the Single Parents Network.  After displaying pinwheels at peace signs in front of chapel, the pinwheels were collected and a representative from Pepper's Ranch took them to be displayed at the Ranch.

Supplies for the pinwheels were donated by the English and foreign language programs, as well a huge donation from a member of the sophomore class.  

September 17, 2014:  Woman's Day

Ananya B. introduced the Chapel Peace Week guest speaker on Women's Day, Mr. Drew Edmondson.  Mr. Edmondson, a former Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma, served in that office from January 1995 to January 2011.  During that time his duties surrounded the Murrah Building bombing in April 1995, to reform of the death penalty appeals process, to litigation against the tobacco companies and protection of Oklahoma’s waters.  He served on the negotiating committee of eight attorneys general which concluded the tobacco lawsuit with the largest civil settlement in history.  He was instrumental in establishing the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust and the Oklahoma Education Technology Trust, both of which will provide funding for health and education initiatives in perpetuity.

His prior service included ten years as the elected District Attorney in Muskogee, Oklahoma, a term in the Oklahoma Legislature, service in the United States Navy, with duty in Vietnam, and some time teaching speech and debate at Muskogee High School.

Mr. Edmonson spoke on Women's Day about leadership, service and inspirational Oklahoma women who made a difference in our state.

September 18th Human Rights Day

Ananya promoted Recipeace-Serving Peace at our tables on 9/21/2014 at different restaurants during the summer. She was not successful with local restaurants, but our Sage Dinning Program under the leadership of Chef Kevin had a Recipeace soup at Calvert on 9/18 and promoted Recipeace with signs at every table at the Casady dinning hall.

Primary and Lower Division celebrated International Day of Peace by blessing and planting pinwheels on the 18th because the 19th was teacher-parent conference day.


PD Pinwheel Blessing on 9/18  Human Rights Day

September 19th:  Freedom Day  

Upper and Middle Divisions planted pinwheels in front of Saint Edwards, The Confessor Chapel to advocate and celebrate International Day of Peace.  During chapel services, the UD Choir and the LD Voice teacher sung peace songs helping advocate being peace makers through music.

September 20th: Disarmament Day

Ananya B. helped organize a Day for Kids on 9/20 @ Boys and Girls Club.  She was unable to participate due to conflict with her debate team schedule.  Casady Service-Learning in collaboration with the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma City, YAC (Youth Acting in the Community), Youth LEAD OKC (Leaders Engaging Across Differences), the Oklahoma Forestry Department (donated seedling to plant on 9/21) and Oklahoma City University Volunteers had a booth were the Interfaith Alliance showed participants how to write peace in several languages and peace symbols in different religions. Casady Service-Learning raise awareness of the International Day of Peace asking participants to leave their visions of peace which were turned into a collage that will be delivered to Boys and Girls Club on 9/21/2015.   Participants were also encouraged to take a seedling to plant on 9/21/2014.

September 21: International Day of Peace

Peace Team members, Johnny and Turner attended the Youth LEAD OKC lock-in Experience on 9/20 and 9/21 @ Camp Fire USA.  Other Casady students who participated in the lock-in were Sidney J., Taylor B., Mallory W, Pierce S., Gabrielle M,  Jack and Ross. The lock-in's goal was to train YLOKC on how to facilitate ice-breakers as a rock start and create a project to be implemented as a team in 2014.  The resulting project is a cultural fest for Positive Tomorrows, a local school for homeless children.  Ananya is part of the planning team of Youth LEAD but was unable to participate because the date of the lock-in was changed and conflicted with her debate schedule.  Ananya will be facilitating the Indian booth at Positive Tomorrows on 12/19/2014.

 Miranda T.'s personal Peace Week initiative was to promote an aerial picture symbolizing United-4-Peace with everyone wearing a Peace t-shirt. Weather did not allow the picture to take place.  Only UD had an attempt.  We think it is doable, but it will take about 30 minutes to take such a picture.

Regarding the Peace Team T-shirt, it was tabled until next year because of lack of resources to fund a t-shirt for everyone at school. Gracie P. joined the team with a design from the Internet and Cathy Z. designed an original one.  In 2015, we have at least two designs to choose from.

 Cathy Z. personal initiative during Peace Week was to raise awareness of peace day through sports. Cathy and a group of friends volunteered at a softball fundraising tournament as part of the compassion games during the 11 Days of Global Unity.

Claire's personal initiative was promotion of awareness of Peace Week through the visual arts.  Mrs. Thompson's  LD classes worked on a peaceful friendship chair and visions of peace during 9/11-9/12.

Friendship/Peace Chair

Visions of Peace

Environment Day: Environmental Peace Art


Mrs. Clay aimed to raise awareness of the Casady Peace Team, Peace Day and connect Peace Week to the Compassion Games during the 11 Days of Global Unity (9/11-9/21) in all divisions and the greater Oklahoma City community.  In collaboration with Peace Team member, Ananya, Mrs. Clay helped organize the reflective component of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches Interfaith Youth Tour.  Ananya was scheduled to facilitate the reflective piece, but delays returning from a debate tournament in Dallas did not allow her to complete her commitment.  The tour had an expected attendance of 180 teens.  We were surprised when 300 participated.  

The International Day of Peace 2014 ended with a lovely observance of the day at OCU, The Great Hall of the University Center, Oklahoma City University
2501 N. Blackwelder, OKC.  

From UN Blog
This free program was co-sponsored by Joy Mennonite Church, the Oikos Scholars program of Oklahoma City University, the Center for Conscience in Action, the Peace House, the Oklahoma City group of Pax Christi USA, the Respect Diversity Foundation, and by the Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association of the USA. 

The program started with Dr. Imad Enchassi

“Sometimes I think God exposed me
to so much hatred and violence.
so that I can be a voice for love and peace.”

Dr. Enchassi is a renowned voice for peace, interfaith understanding, and religious tolerance in Oklahoma and beyond. He is the recipient of the 2014 Humanitarian Award of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, the "Dialogue Award" of the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest, the Community Service Award of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, and in 2011 he was recognized by The Oklahoman newspaper as a Visionary in Religious and Education Outreach.

Beyond these many accolades, Dr. Enchassi is a gracious man of gentle humor. He inspires confidence with his knowledge and ability to communicate. He is a highly sought-after speaker.

The son of a Palestinian father and a Syrian mother, Dr. Enchassi grew up in the Palestinian refugee camps of Beirut, Lebanon.

“I am a third generation refugee," Enchassi recently told The Red Dirt Report. His father was Palestinian, his mother from Syria.

As a teenager, Enchassi and his six siblings were in the Sabra and Shatila camps when they came under attack from the fighters of a Christian militia group. It was September, 1982.

It wasn't just an attack. It was amassacre. More than 30 years later, the world can't forget the deaths of so many unarmed civilians. Estimates of the death toll range from 762 to 3,500. The UN General Assemblycondemned the slaughter, which stretched over the course of 3 days.

As related by The Oklahoman newspaper: "Enchassi said surviving the massacre made him think long and hard about the power and destructiveness of hatred."

“I knew that hatred had to stop,” he said.

After surviving the massacre, at the age of seventeen, Enchassi moved to America, beginning a long journey of education. He studied business management at South Plains College in Texas as well as at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany. Eventually, he earned a masters in management from the University of Phoenix.

“Making it to the U.S. was a dream,” Enchassi told the Red Dirt Report. For nearly two decades, he excelled in the restaurant industry as a regional manager and consultant.

For the last ten years, Dr. Enchassi has focused his life on building up the Islamic community in Greater Oklahoma City. He succeeded in creating the first accredited Islamic school in Oklahoma City. During that time he also became the founder, Imam and President of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma ‘City (ISGOC).

ISGOC has grown to become the largest Islamic Center in the state of Oklahoma.

Dr. Enchassi and his wife, Judith, are the proud parents of five children.

The program continued with the introduction of Kristen Swartley and El Sistema

El Sistema is an international movement for music education -- "The System," in English.

It came to Oklahoma about a year ago, the result of a commitment by Phil and Cathy Busey, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, and the Wanda L. Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University.

Kristen Swartley, a teaching
artist for El Sistema Oklahoma,
will introduce the orchestra's
jazz combo at our Peace Day
celebration on Sept. 21.
The first concert of the El Sistema Oklahoma youth orchestra was last October. One hundred children in grades 3 through 6 delivereda rousing performance in downtown Oklahoma City. It included young people from several Oklahoma City elementary schools, including Sequoyah, Putnam Heights, Cleveland, Linwood, Gatewood and Kaiser.

As a mission project of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in partnership with the Wanda L Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University, El Sistema Oklahoma benefits from a variety of community partners for their success.  In addition to St. Luke’s and OCU, Trinity International Baptist Church provides classrooms for after-school practice sessions.

“We are honored to serve our community by providing a place where children and their families can feel an abundance of grace, hope and joy on a daily basis.  When children see that they can be good at something and be part of something great, it has the power to change the trajectory of their lives,” says Robyn Hilger, Executive Director of El Sistema Oklahoma.

For your viewing pleasure: Here's a 30-second clip
of El Sistema Oklahoma's full orchestra performing
Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" on YouTube.

The program introduced the jazz combo will be Kristen Swartley, a teaching artist for El Sistema Oklahoma. 

Ms. Swartley talked briefly about her experience living and working in Bolivia in 2009 and 2010. It was there that she heard about El Sistema and realized its potential for youth development and social engagement. 

Appearing with Ms. Swartley will be Robyn Hilger, the executive director of El Sistema Oklahoma. 

Children who study music don't just get better at playing
the trombone or violin. They also gain a better ability to
process language. That's according to a new study published
in The Journal of Neuroscience. Learn more from NPR:
"This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain On Music"
El Sistema started in 1975, inspired by a Venezuelan economist and musician, José Antonio Abreu.

Abreu believes that an orchestra represents the ideal society, and the sooner a child is nurtured in that environment, the better for all.

We are fortunate that we have visionary leaders in our community who are willing to invest in the education of our young people in this way. 

And, we are proud to showcase the El Sistema Oklahoma Jazz Combo as part of our celebration of the International Day of Peace. 

"Music has to be recognized as an agent of social development, in the highest sense because it transmits the highest values - solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community, and to express sublime feelings"
--José Antonio Abreu

Find out more about El Sistema: 

"El Sistema"
CBS News, 60 Minutes 
(12 minute video report)

"Venezuela's El Sistema"
The New York Times 
(3 minute video) 

(online article)

The program ended with  Albert Gray Eagle

A noted flute artist, story teller, and creative writer.   Mr. Gray Eagle is a teaching artist for the Oklahoma Arts Council. If you have children in an Oklahoma school, they may have participated in a workshop with him. He is frequently invited to enrich the classroom experience of children in Oklahoma City and beyond. 

As described on the Arts Council's website:

"Residencies with Gray Eagle may include the art of flute making and playing of the instrument while building on an understanding of history relevant to the Native American. He may provide storytelling for both children and adults that offer a perspective and philosophy of Native American culture of the past and present. Through his artistic talents and gentle nature for teaching, participants will be guided to develop their creative and artistic selves. As a U.S. Army veteran, Gray Eagle performs frequently for veterans events."
Read more about Gray Eagle
at the website:
"Tuneful tradition: Albert Gray Eagle's
flute music entertains, teaches"
by Brandy McDonnell

Mr. Gray Eagle hasn't always been a teaching artist. In 1973, at the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Army. After completing his military service, he worked for a dozen years as an office manager. Then another 12 years as a truck driver.

But the flute has been his passion for many years.

Born in Colorado, Mr. Gray Eagle grew up in a Native American family. He is of Oglala,Cheyenne and Apache descent.

As a teen, Gray Eagle's great-uncle John Eagle showed him how to make and play flutes.

"He told me God gives you all kinds of gifts inside your soul, and you'll learn to respect them when you unwrap them. And you won't know what they are until you unwrap them," he said.

Beyond his workshops in Oklahoma schools, Gray Eagle has been a popular entertainer at the Red Earth Festival, at the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, and at other public and private performances.

Gray Eagle has won praise from educators across the state. Mike Woods, superintendent of Fargo Public Schools, has said:

"He exemplifies the good of Oklahoma, the heritage we have here, the quality of the people we have here."
Enjoy a 2-minute YouTube video featuring 
Albert Gray Eagle's voice and flute.
"The Lord's Prayer in Cheyenne"

Gray Eagle often performs with his friend and collaborator, Matheson Hamilton, a story teller and creative writer.

At his website, Gray Eagle explains his motivation for teaching:

"With the air we breathe we choose whether to say something nice to someone or to be mean and create hate. We would rather have the people we teach create an instrument and use the air they breath to create music; allowing them to express who they are as individuals through their artwork, and hopefully through this introduction, give them the opportunity to express themselves through a universal language."

Through his workshops, Gray Eagle inspires his students -- young and old, alike -- to:

• Develop imagination and craftsmanship
• Explore cultural heritage
• Learn patience and respect for others
• Learn to work together as a team

"Together, let us demand the right of peoples to peace."
 --Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General