août 13, 2023 Live from the road

Chicago, Illinois

Reported by Arpan DeAngelo 2.0 km

This morning we had a meeting to discuss the logistics of our participation in a very special parade called the Parade of Faiths. To end the meeting Salil, left, surprised Pradhan with a special shirt called the '85 Bears' as a gift of gratitude for his efforts as well as the efforts of many other members of our team in Chicago, in organizing a variety of Peace Run events over the past five days here in Chicago. For Chicago football fans 1985 was a very special year when their home team, the Chicago Bears, went undefeated for the whole season. This was a fun way to start the day as we then headed over to the start of the Parade of Faiths.

Lining up to participate in the Parade of Faiths which marks the beginning of the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago.

Representatives of many faiths came together this week to celebrated 'unity in diversity': The oneness of humanity which transcends all the outer differences in faith, ethnic origins, cultures and political affiliations.

While we were waiting for the start of the parade many participants and passersby came by to hold our Peace Torch and offer a prayer or make a wish for peace. Kusumita, left, a long time member of the Sri Chinmoy Peace Run Team, is also one of the organizers and Board members of the Parliament of World Religions.

Various groups in colorful costumes lined up as we all prepared for this very meaningful and peaceful parade.

Some of the indigenous groups had beautiful traditional costumes to add to the beauty and spiritual depth of the Parade.

As the parade proceeded some of our Peace Run team members took turns carrying another peace torch to lead our large team of 16 runners from 10 different countries.

Ganapati from New York was one of the torch-bearers who offered the spectators an opportunity to hold the Peace Torch and offer prayers and wishes for peace.

Some of our runners carried torches, country flags, and even a 'boom box' to play some Peace Run songs over the speaker while we marched.

Various groups from the Sikh religion were so excited to share their goodwill and prayers with the Peace Torch.

Some of the Sikh participants rode their beautiful Harley Davidson motorcycles in a group procession.

One of our Peace Run team members from Mongolia, Vanaraja, enjoying one of the motorcycles before the start of the parade. Luckily the keys were not in the ignition.

Ganapati and Arpan brought two of our Peace Torches to many bystanders who came to enjoy the parade and add to the joyful spirit with their smiles and well wishes.

The beautiful and joyful smiles from the young to the older peace-lovers all kept us going as the parade progressed towards McCormick Place where the Parliament of World Religions would start the next day with the theme of, 'A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights'.

Local folks as well as visitors from other states and countries all gathered here today to share in the atmosphere of peace, harmony and oneness.

People from the many religions present here were happy to share the goodwill and feelings of oneness and peace in this colorful and festive parade.

Various members of the media came out to cover the parade and interview some of our runners as well.

Many children and parents came to watch and it was like a big family affair of sharing and caring.

Arpan shares the Peace Torch with Congressman Bobby Lee Rush. The honorable Mr. Rush is an American politician, activist, pastor, and the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 1st congressional district, serving in Congress for more than two decades.

Two peace runners, Agraha from Seattle and Vanaraja from Mongolia, enjoying this festive event.

Some of our team members became like flowers in one garden after enjoying this inspiring and aspiring Parade of Faiths.

After the parade we were invited back to another garden. The backyard patio of Tim(brother of Sukantika), and Mary(his partner), was the perfect place to enjoy great company and delicious food for the second evening in a row.

Tim and Mary worked so hard with help from some of our runners to feed over 20 runners and helpers.

Ishaya was one of our members and helpers who helped with the food. She makes a delicious blueberry cobbler we enjoyed for dessert.

Enjoying the great food and wonderful company of friends from various corners of the globe.

After our meal our team members were presented gifts of gratitude for their self-giving efforts over the past month with the Peace Run. Salil, our Executive Director, enjoys his 'official' Chicago cup. He has been working tirelessly not only for the U.S. Peace Run, but is also involved in many of the other Peace Runs in various countries around the world.
As we end our month-long journey in the U.S. and Canada, we can reflect on the thousands of people who essentially became part of the Peace Run spirit. The enthusiasm and unending efforts of people everywhere we visited gave us both the determination and the hope that the world can and will be a better, more peaceful home for us all in the days and years to come.

"Faith embraces
God the Many.
Peace is
God the One."
Sri Chinmoy (Founder of the Peace Run)

Torch carried by
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), Kusumita Pedersen (United States), Lunthita Duthely (United States), Nayaja Perugini (Italy), Purnakama Rajna (Canada), Salil Wilson (Australia), Sevak James (United States), Sharika Xavier (Cape Verde), Sukantika Donavan (United States), Vanaraja Taij (Mongolia), Vasudha Deming (United States).  
Photographers
Alakananda Lebedev, Arpan DeAngelo, Brahmata Michael, Devendra Cheatham, Jamini Young
The torch has travelled 2.0 km in Chicago, Illinois.

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