Celebrating a City of Peace
Photo credit FFWPU-USA
Unificationists in New Jersey recently celebrated the second anniversary of Nutley township becoming an International City of Peace. Spearheaded by resident Carol Pobanz, a long time Unificationist, Nutley government officials registered the town in 2018, making it one of hundreds of cities worldwide to take a pledge of promoting community peace.
“Our registration was arranged by Nutley Partners for Peace, a group of citizens representing the town’s government, municipal alliance, rotary international, clergy association, board of education, small businesses, and the Universal Peace Federation (UPF),” said Pobanz, who was deeply inspired to put Nutley on the map of this global peace initiative.
Joining the ranks of nearly 300 cities like Los Angeles; Dayton, Ohio; Bihac, Bosnia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nutley has undertaken a path toward becoming a more peaceful city while honoring past achievements, encouraging current peace projects, and inspiring future generations for practical peacebuilding.
More than 120 community members celebrated Nutley’s peace treaty on September 21, also recognized as the International Day of Peace established by the United Nations in 1981. Residents gathered in beautiful Yanticaw Park for about two hours where musical performances and origami demonstrations took place.
“While guitar and vocal music filled the air, we had some Japanese residents who also shared the art of folding paper,” said Pobanz. “We had everyone attempt to fold a thousand paper cranes. It is said that if you fold a thousand paper cranes with a desire in your heart, that desire will become a reality. Our group’s hope and desire, of course, is a world of peace.”
Pobanz said the thousand cranes for peace will be gifted to and hung in the Nutley Public Library.
Former Nutley mayor and keynote speaker Al Petracco, the city’s commissioner of health and safety, shared how a past art exchange initiated by Pobanz between Nutley and Tela, Honduras, was the highlight of his four-year mayoral tenure. He said her PeaceIN Project and other peacemaking endeavors involving Nutley have been incredibly beneficial.
“This pandemic has been a confusing, yet critical time for people to make an effort to know our neighbors,” said Petracco. “This is a great opportunity to move beyond social and international barriers.”
Plans for a special ‘UNITY’ art installation made of river rocks and tile mosaics were also unveiled during the event. The design is set to be constructed in Yanticaw Park in May 2021.
“The rocks will feature messages of peace and hope shared by Nutley’s school children, businesses, churches, and civic organizations,” said Pobanz. “This project is really all about our interconnectedness and unity with each other, especially as a city of peace.”
Nutley Partners for Peace will fund the art installation project through the sale of T-shirts designed by a local art student with the message ‘Peace Rocks in Unity.’ Nutley community members plan to continue holding events highlighting the need for greater unity and understanding. For more updates from Nutley Partners for Peace, click here.