A Message from Jeni Stepanek
I have started a campaign in the past week. It is my hope that as we move through the upcoming International Day of Peace, and closer to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, that Mattie's "For Our World" poem is posted on thousands of websites and facebook pages and read in schools and at conferences and more. This poem was written by Mattie on 9/11/2001, as he watched his personal friends perish during terrorist attacks. It is his response to universal questions of "What now? What next?" He hoped that one day, these words would serve as an international poem for peace. It is my hope that these words now be spread around the world through the powerful tools of the media and the internet, and that they serve as a catalyst for changing mottos of 'revenge' into credos of 'rebuild.' We must rebuild the mosaic of humanity. I appreciate any support you can lend to this effort. Please spread the word, share the poem at every opportunity, and help me get this posted and spoken everywhere.
Mattie JT Stepanek
For Our World
We need to stop.
Just stop. Stop for a moment.
Before anybody says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Silent for a moment.
Before we forever lose the blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Notice for a moment.
Before the future slips away into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice.
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts.
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Be for a moment.
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs, never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.
September 11, 2001
Copyright, Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek
Used by permission from Hope Through Heartsongs, Hyperion Publishing, 2002
September 18-19 (Saturday-Sunday)
Led by renowned children's activist Jeni Stepanek, the Peace Celebration will encourage and show youth and children how they can be peacemakers themselves. Celebration participants will engage in hands on learning experiences with various organizations that are working for peace and that are meeting the needs of youth and children throughout the world. They will also have a chance to respond through art and action about what they've learned. On Sunday afternoon, all attendees are invited to participate in the first annual Peace Walk around Lake Junaluska, which symbolizes our efforts as a community to work towards peace. The Peace Celebration for Youth and Children will end with a Festival of Peace led by participants from Saturday's events.
Read a full press release with details about the Peace Celebration
Saturday, September 18
Give Peace a Chance – Creative Solutions for a Friendly World
8 am – Registration begins
9-9:30 am – Gathering with Andy Offut Irwin
9:30 – 10:45 am – Presentation and dialogue with Jeni Stapanek
10:45 am – Break
11 am – Art response including a Mosaic cloth banner, music, peace medallion, written promises for peace and items for Peace Walk
12 pm – Lunch sponsored by Chick-fil-A
of the Asheville Mall
1-5:30 pm - Workshops
- The younger children, 5th grade and younger, will focus on bullying. They will rotate between the following workshops: Feeling Vocabulary, Anger and Stress, and Creating a Children’s Bill of Rights.
- The older age group, 6th – 12th grades, will go to 3 workshops of which they will choose from the following topics – Paper Clips: The Holocaust Project, Invisible Children, Bullying/Harassment, and Creative expressions including music, writing and drama
Sunday, September 19
1:30-3 pm – Peace Walk around Lake Junaluska
Beginning at the Kern Youth Building (then moving towards the foot bridge and following around the lake) and ending at Stuart Auditorium
3-4:30 pm – Celebration of Peace with Youth & Children
- This will bridge the two parts of the conference together
- Jeni Stepanek will be the keynote speaker
- There will several elements that will come out of Saturday’s events but some of what will be included is Video recap from Saturday, a dramatic reading of Mattie Stepanek’s poetry, a music video of Mattie Stapanek explaining the mosaic idea behind much of his poetry, plus a local children’s choir
*Lunch Saturday is sponsored by Chick-fil-A of the Asheville Mall.