Outside the south entrance of University Hall, a white pointed pole plated with the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in 16 different languages stands among the yellowing shrubbery and mulch.
At about 10 feet tall, Montclair State University’s Peace Pole reached above the heads of the dozen people gathered around it for International Day of Peace yesterday.
The Center for Faith and Spirituality rallied members of the campus community to “devote 30 minutes to silent contemplation, prayer [and] meditation” in observance of the 35th annual Peace Day Wednesday, according to the university website.
Since the United Nations established it as an international holiday in 1981, Peace Day has marked Sept. 21 of each year “as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples,” according to the UN website. On its 20th anniversary in 2001, Peace Day was also designated as a day of non-violence and cease-fire as a result of a unanimous UN General Assembly vote.
However, arriving on the heels of two proximate bombings and a string of incidents involving police violence—the latest of which resulted in the murder of Keith Lamont Scott and the injury of several officers in subsequent riots in Charlotte, North Carolina—tranquility seems distant for many members of the Montclair State community.
In light of all the unrest around the world, senior nutrition major Brandon Flores offered his suggestion on how to approach discussing these issues. Flores said, “If you [argue in the heat of the moment] you’ll say and do things you could regret. You don’t have to agree with what [others] believe in as long as you try to understand their views.” Flores emphasized to “wait until things calm” in the wake of emotionally-charged events.