The Celebration of Student Peacemakers on Friday April 27 was a joyful event shared by 65 friends, family, donors and well-wishers who packed the Clara Barton room at UU Fellowship of Raleigh. They came to hear how young peacemakers are literally viewing the world and developing a worldview as part of NC Peace Action’s Student and Young Adult Peacemakers’ scholarships.
Now in it’s second year, the program featured 2010-11 Grand Prize winners Lauren Zalla and Lauren Traugott-Campbell. They showed slides and spoke about their travel to Cuba with Witness for Peace in November 2011. Lauren T-C said the transition Cuba went through as it adjusted to the loss of imports from the Soviet Union and the blockade of the US may well serve as a model to many countries in the future who must learn to live without oil and other advanced technologies.
Ana Maria Reichenbach spoke about her trip to Washington, DC with co-awardee Courtney Newsome to attend the Spring Lobby Weekend of Friends Committee on National Legislation. She spoke about the training on peace issues and the experience of lobbying Congress, which, she said insightfully, “has one kind of power”.
Special invitees, Yuwsuf Bell and Angaza Samora Laughinghouse delighted the audience with their introduction to Hip Hop for Justice, which they coordinate. They showed a video of spoken word and dance artists from their group.
Finally, the 2012 Grand Prize Awardees Monserrat Alvarez and Owen Clapp were recognized and they each spoke about their anticipated travel to Cuba and Nicaragua with Witness for Peace.
The talent, exuberance and love of the Student Peacemakers, ranging in age from 13-23, was clearly a thrill to the older generation there to honor them. These students already committed to peace and working for justice so early in their lives reassured everyone that our future is in good hands. This Celebration was a kind of blessing and dedication as they go forth in their endeavors to create a more just world for all its inhabitants.
Funds for the scholarships come from donations to NC Peace Action earmarked for the Peace Legacy Fund, founded by Joe Burton, Curry First, Sandy Irving, Cy King, Slater Newman, Kim Porter, and Bill Towe.