Peace and Disarmament
SGI-USA Chicago Promotes Peace Through Art
On October 10, 2009, nearly 500 SGI-USA members and guests filled the hallways and conference rooms of the SGI-USA Chicago Culture Center to take part in "Inspiring a Culture of Peace: A Day of Artful Action and Creativity." SGI-USA Chicago's Think Peace Take Action Committee and the International Committee of Artists for Peace sponsored the 3rd annual event, in which the arts and dialogue are used to encourage individuals to work toward a peaceful society.
Local members initiated the day-long event in 2007 to mark the 50th anniversary of second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda's declaration on September 8, 1957, in which he called for the abolition of nuclear weapons before some 50,000 young people in Yokohama, Japan. This year, the event featured two exhibitions: "Artists as Peacemakers" and "Victory Over Violence." The day began with an inspirational performance of drama and song.
Ronni Favors, rehearsal director for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, served as the keynote speaker. Ms. Favors discussed the transformative power of art and ways in which it can be a tool for creating peace. Quoting SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, she said: "Art is peace. Art captures people's hearts, their minds and imaginations. Art enriches people; it enriches society. Artists have the power to affect an immense number of people in a very profound way. What a great role this power plays in the victory of the people!"
The day continued with dialogues and workshops, including "Collage Making for All Ages" and "Storytelling as a Force for Peace." The event culminated with collaborative performances addressing themes of domestic violence, gun violence and war.
[Adapted from an article in the November 13, 2009, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photo courtesy of World Tribune]