State Senator Tony Hwang joined kids and counselors at Wakeman Boys & Girls Club in Westport to welcome the Sri Chinmoy Peace Runners, who have been running all around North America, spreading their message of world peace and one-ness. On this last leg of the journey, the Peace Runners stopped in Westport before returning to the United Nations building in New York City where they started their journey several months ago.
Senator Hwang led the Peace Runners for their laps around the Wakeman gymnasium, bearing the Peace Torch, before the Runners spoke to the kids about their message and mission. “This is the kind of thing we need more of these days and it is important for me, as an elected official, to be here to help spread their message. Human kindness can be an incredible thing, and the Peace Runners have my sincere thanks for coming to Wakeman Boys & Girls Club to educate these children about their own home countries, the idea of the world-family, and what they can do as individuals to promote peace,” said Hwang.
Bill Hass, President of the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut, who works closely with the Peace Runners when they come through the Nutmeg State, remarked “The message is that Peace begins with each individual and that’s what we’re trying to get across. Because for there to be peace at any level -- local, national, or worldwide -- individuals have to radiate that peace so it can spread. The other message is that the world is just one big family, and I think some people often forget that.”
The Peace Runners certainly embodied that message. As people from all over the world -- New Zealand, Italy, Ukraine, Japan, and just down the road in Norwalk -- spending the last several months traveling all over the United States, they have reached so many individuals of the “world-family” that Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy, envisioned.
The Peace Torch they carry symbolizes the common goal of world peace and as the Peace Runners say, by passing the torch from one person to the next, the relay offers people from many nations the opportunity to express their hopes and dreams for a better, brighter future. Passing the torch from one person to the next unites us together in our common aspiration to offer something positive to our world – together we can make a difference!
“The key to this great initiative is recognizing that the world is made up of individuals. And individuals have power to spread kindness and the idea that we are all a part of a larger whole,” said Senator Hwang. “I think it’s so important for these kids to recognize that, and to internalize it, and to bring it home to their families. As long as they are able to spread that message to one other person, the Peace Runners have succeeded.”
To end the presentation, the Peace Runners asked the kids to repeat after them: “Peace begins with me!” By believing in that idea, it makes the challenge of bringing peace to the world much more achievable.