LIBRARY CITY OF PEACE INITIATIVES
How Community Libraries can help establish a Citywide initiative to establish their City as an International City of Peace.
Elgin City of Peace: Libraries & Communities Leading the Way to Peace
Elgin’s commitment to volunteerism and multi-partnered cooperative efforts to address community issues helped us become an International City of Peace. The library played a key role in Elgin’s becoming a City of Peace. We worked with civic and faith-based community leaders to research Elgin’s continuous efforts as a welcoming and peace-building city. From historically welcoming vulnerable groups and immigrants, hosting vigils and discussions about race and policing, encouraging volunteerism, to creating prevention policies and programming, we collected thousands of efforts for peace. We successfully petitioned the Mayor to Proclaim Elgin an International City of Peace in 2013.
Public partnerships with libraries, municipalities, social service organizations, museums, universities, school districts, health organizations, and civic groups can produce cultural programming and courageous conversations promoting peace. Go where your community gathers, collect what they already accomplish, or are willing to create and share, for peace that will help you in the ICP research process..
Elgin efforts that are replicable in other cities, villages and towns:
Global Neighbors Series: Public programs featuring international cultures engaging music, dancers, traditional clothing, and local professors and presenters who give details about history and modern lives of our local and global neighbors. Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, Diwali, EID, and other religious celebrations give opportunities for exploration and sharing when communities come together to share tradition and knowledge.
Police departments can implement or highlight community policing and community engagement as it’s essential tool for community peace and can coordinate with faith, library and educational leaders to host discussions and events for all ages around the city about immigration, citizenship, hate crimes, and safety.
Films give us a deeper connection to history and the injustice of our past. Discussions with impacted communities builds bridges and dispels stereotypes that are divisive. Documentaries and dramatic films can focus conversations. The Not In Our Town film & discussion series builds resiliency and commitment to prevention and awareness of hate groups and hate crimes. Discussing reentry of the justice involved and restorative justice in communities are popular community topics for peace- building. The If Project or other films can harness the dreams of individuals and communities. See links and contacts provided.
Communities can research how they can become an International City of Peace as well as other awareness building tools like becoming a Dementia Friendly Community, a Trauma-Informed community, Autism Aware, and many organizations can be trained in mental health awareness and building restorative practice into their schools and organizations. Designate your community gardens as “Peace Gardens” around your area.
Create video and writing projects that tell your community story about immigration, family roots, difficulties and healing and commitments for the future. Personal and historical content is gathered from all ethnicities and ages in our community through various projects by the library, museums, local authors and filmmakers.
Celebrate and encourage peace stories and crafts at the annual festivals or events around town, build them into your annual programs. Use bilingual stories to celebrate everyone in the community and peacemakers from around the world engage and inform. LGBTQ community programs and Rainbow story times help community to share important perspectives.
Art, poetry and music are also valuable peacebuilding tools for communities to capture in art or writing “what family and community mean to me”. Peace art installations collaborating with all sectors of the community reach across genders, ages and cultures to create community art reaffirming “what I will do for peace in my community”. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gailborden/albums/72157680184303338
The International Day of Peace, September 21st, is home to the Annual Global Feast for Peace that engages many places of worship in bell ringing, cultural meal sharing, stories, and peace art and songs.
We encourage you to research your peace-building efforts and take a look at the process for petitioning the International Cities of Peace here:
The Team in Elgin, Indiana: City of Peace.
Contacts for replicable programs, partnerships and events:
Annual Asian-Pacific Heritage Celebration and Black History Family Festival:
Dementia Friendly Elgin:
Each One, Reach One film: https://gailborden.bibliocommons.com/item/show/2417771151
Earth Day: https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/ct-ecn-elgin-sustainability-st-0313-story.html Danielle Henson firstname.lastname@example.org Erik Anderson email@example.com
EID or Global Neighbors Series: Sadia Ahmed firstname.lastname@example.org
Elgin iFest and Elgin International City of Peace & ECP Storytimes: https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/ct-ecn-elgin-international-fest-st-0828-20150827-story.html Barb Keselica email@example.com
Hispanic Heritage Celebration:https://www.dailyherald.com/submitted/20181003/celebrate-hispanic-heritage-month-oct-6-at-gail-borden Tina Viglucci firstname.lastname@example.org
Illinois Humanities Community Discussions: Tish Calhamer email@example.com
Lao Oral History Project: https://www.gailborden.info/elginareamemories/collections/108-laotian-heritage-celebration or Tapestry of Freedom: https://gailborden.info/exhibitsarchive/freedom/faqs.html Miriam Lytle firstname.lastname@example.org Aloun Khotisene (Lao Oral History) email@example.com
Not In Our Town Films & Discussion: www.niot.org https://www.niot.org/blog/not-our-town-film-series-sparks-dialogue-elgin-il EPD Chief Ana Lalley LALLEY_A@cityofelgin.org Danielle Henson firstname.lastname@example.org or Commander Rick Ciganek CIGANEK_R@cityofelgin.org
Project 2-3-1 documentary film: https://elginhistory.org/product/project-2-3-1-dvd/ Ernie Braodmax Broadnaxr email@example.com Elizabeth Marston firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wall that Heals and GBPLD Big Read The Things They Carried:
Healing community and connecting Vets to the library for Visiting Vets/Veteran’s Voices:
Gail Borden Public Library: https://www.gailborden.info/
For more information and mentoring, please contact Danielle Henson, Community Collaboration Coordinator at Gail Borden Public Library and Coordinating Committee Chair at Elgin City of Peace in Elgin Illinois, USA.