International Peace Day was celebrated Monday at Grand Rapids Community College.
“This day falls at a very fortuitous moment for us here in the world,” Mayor George Heartwell said. “Today as we watch the images of refugees fleeing from Syria, I just heard this morning we will be receiving 150 of them here in Grand Rapids.”
The day brought many people together and focused on unity regardless of the differences everyone has.
“I’m a strong believer in the benefits to a community of having a rich diversity of people,” Heartwell said. “It’s terribly discouraging to me to listen to the presidential debates of this past week and hear the vitriol directed towards the people who are coming to this country for the opportunity that it represents.”
A moment of silence followed Mayor Heartwell’s speech.
There were activities to participate in including a peace day backdrop where students could take their picture and upload it to Instagram.
Professor and Chef Gilles Renusson led students to work together in what is known as the Taffy Pull. The symbolic meaning was to show,“many people working together can do good things when they have a common goal,” said Shavval Fleming, an English professor and international Peace Day organizer.