International Cities of Peace  

 

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One of our three goals is to help Long Island Cities be recognized as International Cities of Peace.  You can learn more about this group of Cities at www.InternationalCitiesofPeace.org.  Here is what they propose:

IMAGINE a world of cities dedicated to expanding their local peace economy and encouraging a global culture of peace. Safety, prosperity, and quality of life are universal values that bring peace to our lives.

First and foremost in this global adventure is to reject violence and define ourselves as people of peace. International Cities of Peace is a formal Association of communities that by history, resolution, or proclamation are doing just this — self-defining their community as an official City of Peace. This redefinition requires building a consensus network of business, government and community leaders who value safety, prosperity and quality of life. Then the work begins with a vision, a mission, and the goals and objectives that deliver the promise.

Patchogue has recently been accepted as the 331st International City of Peace.  It is the first on Long Island to become recognized as such.  Here is an article from The Long Island Advance that announced this achievement:  Long Island Advance Sept. 2, 2021, Page 2.

Peaceful and proud!

Patchogue presented International City of Peace designation

Posted Thursday, September 2, 2021 12:00 am

Local residents Jen Brady Cotter and John Baum launched the Patchogue Peace Project in 2020 to "initiate and support educational advocacy and collaborative efforts that foster a culture of peace in the community."

Earlier this week, the community was officially awarded as the first International City of Peace on Long Island. Over the past six months, project liaison Brady Cotter and peacemaker Baum worked with community partners, developing a long-term vision for peacemaking in the community, receiving a proclamation from the village declaring support for their efforts, and creating a document describing the legacy of peacebuilding in Patchogue.

"We have always been a welcoming community; therefore, the idea of being a village of peace is great for a community that believes in peaceful relationships for all of the members of our visitors, residents and passersby," Patchogue mayor Paul Pontieri said.

Patchogue’s legacy of peace evolved into an inspiring tribute to the community’s long history of collaboration among residents, institutions, schools, local governments, businesses, and organizations that revealed the dedication and commitment to creating an enduring culture of peace. Patchogue has worked to increase the safety, prosperity, and quality of life for all its residents, through several peace pole installations, proclamations, art installations and vigils.

Their project also reflects on the many ways Patchogue has united to reject hate. Some examples include how the community came together after the hate crime killing of Marcelo Lucero. It describes how in the aftermath of the tragedy, anniversary vigils took place across Patchogue, the Play for Peace soccer tournament was launched, and local residents worked together not only to heal, but to build bridges within the community.

The report also spotlights how so many local institutions serve as the cornerstones for peacebuilding, spotlighting the Patchogue- Medford Library, Patchogue-Medford Youth & Community Services, and SEPA Mujer.

"Of course, the story would not be complete without acknowledging the tremendous role the arts have played in bringing the community together," said chairperson for the Patchogue Peace Project, Brady Cotter. "The work of several groups is highlighted, such as the Patchogue Arts Council for its continuous commitment to building empathy and understanding through multicultural exhibits and programs."

Brady Cotter has been actively engaged in violence prevention, community building, and other peacemaking efforts for the past 25 years. She cofounded National Youth Violence Prevention Week, a campaign now adopted by Sandy Hook Promise; partnered with Herstory Writers Workshop to host a social justice memoir-writing workshop; and is an active member of Building Bridges in Brookhaven, among others.

She said she was thrilled when lifelong peacemaker John Baum reached out to her to work on Patchogue becoming an International City of Peace. Baum had already been working with Pax Christi and the Rotary on a mission to bring over 100 peace poles to Long Island. With partners jumping in from the library, chamber of commerce, PMYCS, St. Joseph’s College, and several organizations, the project took off.

"In a time with so much division, this is a wonderful example of what can happen when we come together," Brady Cotter said. "With this designation, the village has joined a network of 330 other cities across the globe dedicated to building a culture of peace. While we are honored to achieve it, it is also our goal to use this as an opportunity to initiate and support ongoing efforts to put peace into action. Upcoming events include community conversations to identify our shared values, as well as programs to teach conflict management, compassionate communication, and other peacebuilding skills."

Brady Cotter encourages anyone interested in being part of the effort to jump in. For more information and to connect with the Patchogue Peace Project email patchoguepeaceproject@gmail.com.

What is an International City of Peace?

According to the International Cities of Peace website: International Cities of Peace is an association of citizens, governments and organizations who have by proclamation, resolution, or by citizen advocacy established their communities as official Cities of Peace. Every community has a legacy of peace, whether it is by a historical event or by a local peace heroes or groups who have contributed to their citizen’s safety, prosperity and quality of life.

No city is 100 percent a city of peace; rather, all are on the path to "becoming" a more peaceful city. Establishing a community as a peace city recognizes past achievements, encourages current initiatives, and inspires future generations for practical peace building.

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Here are some reasons why Patchogue was accepted as An International CIty of Peace

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Marcelo Lucero, and Nina Uchida Friedberg were honored on International Peace Day

Linda Leuzzi, Long Island Advance, Oct. 1`,2020

The arc of Marcello Lucero’s tragic death from a hate crime in 2008 that rocked Patchogue evolved into a memorial and the unveiling of a Peace Poll on Monday at the Carnegie Library with his brother Joselo Lucero and several officials, friends, and others from peace organizations, honoring the meaning of his life and its aftermath.

Nina Uchida Friedberg, a stalwart supporter of Joselo during his grief and member of the South Country Peace Group, was also honored posthumously that day later at the Patchogue-Medford Library with a Peace Pole of her own.

And Patchogue got its own recognition as the first City of Peace on Long Island.

Forty people attended the event on the International Day of Peace sponsored by the Patchogue-Medford Library that included a Peace Walk down Main Street.

“It’s absolutely essential that young people do everything they can to insure society’s inclusion,” said Joselo Lucero at the ceremony. “My brother’s death created a new meaning in my life and while I was going to schools to talk to students, I felt I was doing good.”

Joselo Lucero spoke of Friedberg’s support and commitment against racism as did NYS Senator Monica Martinez (D-3rd Senate District), a Salvador-American, who was an immigrant herself.

The idea for the event began a year ago, said Patchogue-Medford Library director Danielle Paisley. “John Baum reached out to me and was looking for a partner to start planting Peace Poles,” she said. “He wants to plant 100 on Long Island, but wanted to start right here at home where he lived.”

Baum approached Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue) about his idea for a Peace Pole honoring Marcello Lucero. When discussing the location, the Carnegie was chosen.

“On the flip side, Marian Russo’s mom passed away and she set up a memorial fund for her mother, her mom volunteered at the library,” Paisley explained. When Baum spoke to Paisley, Nina Friedberg’s name came up as a natural for a second Peace Pole; she was a committed Women in Black in Sayville and Bellport among other activities.

Paisley’s staff also had a lead up of events at the library including a discussion of New York Times 1619 Project.

She credited Baum for his commitment to the idea.

Baum, a Patchogue resident since 1965, is a member of Pax Christi Long Island (Pax Christi is a Catholic membership organization that rejects war, its preparation, every form of violence and domination and racism); the group is trying to get young people involved, he said.

“I decided the Peace Pole activity would draw them.” He traveled to The Peace Sanctuary in Wassiac, New York, affiliated with the United Nations. “They have a Peace Poll for everyone in the United Nations,” he said. They also build them.

At around the same time, Baum learned of a Rotary Club in Portland, Oregon with the goal of planting 100 Peace Poles. That interaction led to Baum’s learning about Rotary Clubs locally committing, via Rotary Club International and their peace initiative, to plant poles on Long Island. “The Rotary Club keeps track of the poles and created a map,” he said, of the Pax Christi & Long Island and Long Island Rotary Clubs Peace Pole Project.

So, “a youth group in Patchogue may get poles planted,” Baum said.

He’s formed a Patchogue Peace Committee and hopes that youth groups will get involved to have Long Island Cities recognized as Cities of Peace. Patchogue is the first one to be cited. James Skidmore, who was at the ceremony, is the chairperson for Patchogue: City of Peace Committee.

Baum cited the Patchogue Rotary’s involvement; Patchogue Rotary president Brian McAuliff spoke at the ceremony; at Nina Friedberg’s memorial, Kevin Mann with Long Island Rotary Groups for Peace spoke.

Another organization involved with the movement representing Patchogue’s honor is the International Cities of Peace; its mission is to evolve peace building at the local level.

“We have a list of ten reasons why Patchogue should be recognized as a city of peace, and to be recognized is an honor,” Baum said.

Last update: 01/12/2022