août 10, 2023 Live from the road

Chicago

Reported by Rupasi Young 11.0 mi

Starting the day out with friendly barristas.

Greetings from the 11th District Police Department for the City of Chicago! Deandre from Exodus joins.

Our first program today was a distinct honor for us as the Peace Run Team recognized Lieutenant Jermaine Harris of the City of Chicago 11th District Police Department. He has dedicated his life to serving his community and continually places himself in harms way to be sure Chicago citizens and especially the youth of the 11th District are able to live safer lives. He embodies the highest ideals of the Torch Bearer Award. Thank you Lieutenant Harris.

We begin our program at the Exodus Institute. Exodus is located in one of the most challenged neighborhoods in Chicago and is home to people with the biggest hearts and greatest courage and resilience. We are very grateful to hold our program here and hope it will inspire the community. Exodus also hosts our first Art From the Heart Exhibition opening today. It includes works dedicates to peace and collected from kids all around the United States and Canada. Each picture is the hope a child has for peace in the world, shared with Chicago and the world. Each one is a unique vision of peace.

Our program begins...

Good afternoon!

We are joined by very outstanding Chicagoans who Peace Run recognizes as Torch Bearers in our world. Ms. Donna Prather Williams, granddaughter of the legendary Jesse Owens. She accepts the Torch Bearer Award on behalf the Jesse Owens Foundation.

Father Hernan Cuevas Contreras, a dedicated and selfless server of humanity. He lives the ideals he teaches and sets an example to all in his congregation. Thank you Father Hernan for who you are. We are grateful to know you.

Youth from the Exodus Drum and Bugle Corps give a bold perfomance of 'Exodus' by Leonard Bernstein. Their confidence and musicial offering are examples of what can happen with strong leaders and mentorship as seen at Exodus. They introduce the next Torch Bearer recipients who serve the Austin neighborhood...

Alderman Emma Mitts graciously receives the Torch Bearer Award on behalf of Pastor Larry Lockhart. Thank you Emma for your example and dedication to the Austin neighborhood.

Our next recipient is Melvin Bridgmon, President of Outreach Chicago. Melvin is dedicated to improving the lives of homeless veterans. He is a true Torch Bearer.

Thank you Melvin.

This year, we are very happy that Venus attended our Peace Run program. Venus is a Torch Bearer recipient whom Peace Run was fortunate to learn of last year. She recommended Pastor James Hicks this year for the Torch Bearer Award. Thank you Pastor Hicks. We are honored to know you.

Exodus and Peace Run welcomed a special guest, Reverend David Messner, PhD newly of the First Unitarian Church of Chicago. Reverend Messner shared some very inspired reflections on peace. Thank you Reverend Messner.

Reverend Johnny Harris performed a soul stirring rendition of 'A Change is Gonna Come' composed by Sam Cooke.

And two incredible representatives from the Christ Our Hope Choir shared a beautiful piece.

And finally, a surprise Torch Bearer recipient, Alderman Chris Taliaferro. His award came as a happy surprise to him. His dedication and service to Chicagoans and his highest ideals of equality, justice and safety mean the best possible leader for Austin.

Ronnell Williams, one of of Exodus Institutes youths presented the Torch Bearer Award to Alderman Taliaferro.

The grand finale of our formal program included two dances by the Natya Dance Company.

Yet the best surprise was a guest appearance by Congressman Danny Davis. A longtime friend of the Peace Run, Congressman Davis shared kind words and encouragement to Exodus and its pillars, Jerome and Sevak. The end to a great program.

We end with with songs, A New World of Peace and My Own Gratitude Heart.

And the Peace Run Team thanks Exodus Institute for hosting our program and for welcoming the first US exhibition of Art From the Heart. Follows are the walls of Exodus with artwork in the collection.

Thank you Sevak!

And thank you Waianae Club in Hawaii

Thank you Montana, Massachusetts, Washington, Nevada...

Lousiana, Michigan, Indiana...

Vermont, Connecticut and many more...

New best friends

Next we make our way to the kids of the South Shore Drill Team...

Denise Herron-McDaniel introduces us to the kids and tells us about their new facility located just across the street. SSDT is always one of our most favorite places to visit.

Its youth carry the message of peace and learn from the best. The mentors and coaches of SSDT teach lifelong lessons and skills to countless youth

And Purnakama teaches them a song...

we all join in.

And one more surprise Torch Bearer award is given, this time to Ms. McDaniel. Her dedication to SSDT and its unique and life changing program is such a significant service to Chicago's youth.

Finally comes the unveiling of a new Sri Chinmoy Peace Tree planted outside the new SSDT Clubhouse.

Before we visit the new facility to see the youth practice for the upcoming Bud Billiken parade. Their dedication and discipline shows in their excellent unsurpassed level of skill.

For coach Greg, the growth and skill is a life's work.

Thank you to the South Shore Drill Team! See you next time!

Torch carried by
Agraha Levine (United States), Alakananda Lebedev (United States), Arpan DeAngelo (United States), Atul Arora (India), Bhadrika Beumer (Netherlands), Brahmata Michael (Canada), Devendra Cheatham (United States), Harita Davies (New Zealand), Jamini Young (United States), Kevin Carroll (United States), Kevin Morrison (United States), Lunthita Duthely (United States), Mudavati Arksey (United States), Natabara Rollosson (United States), Nayaja Perugini (Italy), Pavaka Richot (Canada), Pradhan Balter (United States), Pragati Pascale (United States), Prema Jackson (United States), Purnakama Rajna (Canada), Rupasi Young (United States), Salil Wilson (Australia), Santiva Morrison (United States), Sevak James (United States), Sharika Xavier (Cape Verde), Sukantika Donavan (United States).  
Photographers
Alakananda Lebedev, Devendra Cheatham
The torch has travelled 11.0 mi in Chicago.

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