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Groups "Wage Peace" During Arkansas Peace Week

Hundreds of people gathered in Little Rock this week to meet and exchange ideas during Arkansas Peace Week activities. (Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice)
Hundreds of people gathered in Little Rock this week to meet and exchange ideas during Arkansas Peace Week activities. (Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice)
September 23, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – With music, group discussions and hands-on events, organizers of Arkansas Peace Week say they are promoting "a path to reason for a divided nation." The annual meeting of local, national and international organizations, faith groups and individuals, concludes this weekend with the Arkansas Peace Festival.

Organizer Bob Estes with the Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice, said the goal is to educate, promote peace and justice, and work toward building lasting peace in the world. He said the event gets bigger every year.

"For several years, we've tried to plan some events around the U.N. International Day of Peace," he said. "We've had symposiums, other memorial-type events. And then last year, we decided to plan a week of events."

This weekend includes a symposium on developing alternatives to war, and one on ending gun violence, plus opportunities to meet with nonprofit groups working to alleviate poverty and promote peace. There will also be music, food booths and face-painting. Estes said several hundred people are expected to attend.

He said the weeklong event also serves as an opportunity for peace-making groups to meet and exchange ideas.

"Different organizations and different people may do things a little bit differently, but hopefully all of us can work together and pull the same end of the rope, and make everybody a little bit more successful," he added.

He noted in today's world, promoting peace over conflict can be challenging.

"Peacemaking is the long-term effort, and it takes a lot of work to do it," Estes explained. "So, what we're really trying to do is make people aware of the organizations that are working toward making our society better and more peaceful."

More than two dozen Arkansas-based and national nonprofit groups are sponsoring the Festival. Activities run through Sunday at Bernice Garden in Little Rock.

The full schedule can be found here.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AR