IMAGINE Magazine Autumn 2015 Volume 1 Number 1 - Page 19

Making Sedona a City of Peace by Margaret Joy Weaver T he Sedona, Arizona International City of Peace team, 35th in the now over 100 cities on five continents around the world, first came together in June, 2012. We share our story here to encourage you and a team of positive peace partners and influential citizens in your community to consider creating this opportunity for your city, our state, and our world! We hold to a vision of Arizona becoming the first State of Peace in the United States by having 25 International Cities of Peace statewide by the end of 2016. A City of Peace, as officially defined by International Cities of Peace and the United Nations, is “a community that endeavors to make progress against violence and foster a culture of peace. A Culture of Peace is a set of values, attitudes, modes of behavior and ways of life that reject violence and prevents conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation.” l Creating our Vision. In Sedona, six founding partners began our process by envisioning how we might best foster a culture of peace consistent with our own values and the heart and unique contribution of this special place we are blessed to live. We explored our roots and the role Sedona has played in terms Sedona: Int’l City of Peace of peace and healing among the First People. We looked on the website to discover what other Cities of Peace were creating. We examined effective organizations focused on compassion, non-violence and social justice to see what we could learn from them in formulating our vision. And we connected with civic, interfaith, environmental, education, arts, business, media, wellness/healing, historical/indigenous, multicultural, criminal justice, youth, and human rights groups to discover what peace meant to them and what they felt it would take to foster a culture of peace. Within a few months we had over 600 signatures from Sedona residents expressing their interest in participating with us. l Organizing Ourselves Around What Matters. We discovered through our process that there are many avenues for creating peace with opportunities and strategies to nurture each of them. We began to explore a variety of these pathways including peace within oneself; peace in the increasing complexity of family; peace in aging and life’s transitions; peace within and among different generations; creating peace with our environment; peace with those who seem different from us or in challenging—even unapproachable situations; creating peace in the face of violence, etc. l Engaging Our Community. Our process for engaging our community is to catalyze, co-host, partner with organizations, and participate in events that we believe are fostering a culture of peace. Within three months of our formulation we celebrated our first annual International Day of Peace on September 21st, co-hosting an Interfaith Forum and engaging the Sedona Red Rock High School to assemble the student body into a peace symbol on the football field. Year Two we hosted a Peace Walk and Global Feast for Peace at the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park and catalyzed groups at five other stupas worldwide to partici