More than one thousand people - including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, state Sen. Beth Bye and West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka - packed into Elizabeth Park on Saturday for “Peace, Love & Music Together, An International Day of Peace Celebration.”
The event, which was done in conjunction with World Peace Day, was sponsored by Music Together and featured various performances and demonstrations, including African and Native American drummers, a live family concert and yoga and meditation.
“We’re seeing the end result of a lot of families making music in smaller groups coming together to make music in larger groups,” said Kenneth Guilmartin, Music Together founder and director.
Malloy thanked the members of the crowd for coming out and celebrating World Peace Day.
“World Peace Day has been marked across the world ever since the United Nations declared it 32 years ago,” Malloy said. “This is a great way to do it with music and art and lots of kids around. It’s a great message about peace, about getting along. About bringing your children to see peace in action and raising another generation of people who believe in peace and justice.”
Malloy noted that he would be welcoming back soldiers from Afghanistan later in the day at Bradley Air National Guard Base.
“It is a reminder that we have so much more to do in this world to bring about peace and justice and social justice,” Malloy said.
Bye received a special certificate from Music Together for her continued work on behalf of children.
“I accept this on behalf of you all, because you care about peace, you care about our community,” Bye said. “When you think about peace, love and music together … they all fit so beautifully together.”
Bye quoted Martin Luther King Jr., who said that the opposite of violence is justice. Bye said that it was a rough week for that concept, considering the House of Representatives voting to cut funding for food stamps.
“That is not justice,” Bye said. “We can do better.”
Bye added that music has played and continues to play a vital role in the peace process and social justice movement.
Slifka said that, as a local official, he could contribute to the peace process by practicing civility.
“It’s going to set the tone for the dialog you want to have in your community,” he said. “Do you treat your neighbor with respect if that person has ideas that might be different than yours? Do you listen instead of just sharing your opinions with others? Do you try to find common understanding with people who might disagree with you?”Slifka concluded by quoting an unnamed source stating, “Your adversary does not have to be your enemy.”