Oaklanders observe 24 hours for peace
on September 14, 2010
At sundown on the eve of the 9th anniversary of September 11, a diverse group of Oaklanders joined together to say their ecumenical prayers for peace, and they didn’t stop until the next day. Organized and hosted by Joe Weston, owner of Temescal’s Heartwalker Studio, the 24-hour peace vigil featured local spiritual leaders, as well as practitioners of yoga, qigong and martial arts. The lamp-lit studio boasted a heart-shaped course for ambulatory meditation, an interdenominational altar and a wall where visitors were encouraged to write blessings for the City of Oakland. A multifaith invocation started the vigil on Friday night, and talks throughout the event addressed communication, conflict resolution and enlightenment.
While the rest of the country memorialized the September 11 attacks and debated one Florida pastor’s threats to publicly burn the Quran, Weston and his group sought to create peace in their own small way. Rather than focusing on a particular war or conflict, Weston said his aim was to invite an unusual mix of people to gather in one place under the banner of respectful dialogue. “Even if one person was able to connect with another person that they never would have connected with,” Weston said, “that to me is already enough.”
Oakland businesses including Bakesale Betty’s, Pizzaiolo and the Broadway Grocery Outlet donated food and goods to sustain the peace seekers. The event started at 7:00 on Friday evening and ended at the same time Saturday. Attendance started with about 50 people and ebbed to four committed vigil-goers overnight, with a steady flow of people coming in during the following day.
“It’s amazing how peaceful it is,” said Robin L. Scott, a minister at Oakland’s Urojas Community Services, as she prepared to join in a group prayer. “It reminds me of the ‘60s.”
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