Early in the morning we ran to the WGN-TV News Studios with a helicopter waiting overhead to broadcast our torch pass from the popular TV News Anchor, Larry Potash.
A very sophisticated camera set-up on the ground was ready for the magic moment as well.
Smiling Anchorman Larry came out running with the Peace torch.
Our team was waiting outside to greet him and receive the torch from him.
It was a quick lighting of the torch and handover to our team as we ran out towards our first of many ceremonies of the day with the helicopter broadcasting live overhead.
We first stopped at the restaurant of our very good friend and Peace Run coordinator Pradhan. Victory's Banner has been feeding people in the Roscoe Village area of Chicago for a few decades now and has been ranked among the best places for breakfast in the whole city.
Our tireless photographer, Yatkara from Ukraine, had some time to have breakfast and even pose for a photo, on the other side of the camera.
Papahinam had a couple of seconds to hold the torch as he was extremely busy cooking up a storm for our hungry team and all the other regular customers as well.
These friendly customers were kind enough to hold the torch with us and offer their goodwill for peace.
Kaela, one of the waitresses who we kept very busy gave us a cheerful smile to carry with the torch as we started our busy first day in Chicago.
Hamlin Park was all set up to receive the Peace Runners where a children's summer program is held.
Some of the drumming members of the drum and bugle corps, Exodus, were kind enough to show up for the event before the runners ran in.
Out team ran to Hamlin Park with torch and country flags.
We were enthusiastically welcomed by a tunnel of children with more international country flags and high fives.
We offered a short program to the children who really needed to be in the shade on this ever increasingly hot day.
Peace in the heart is something we always have the children try to feel.
Richard Blake, the Park Supervisor, and Brianna Rowan, the Physical Instructor, receive our gratitude in the form of our official Peace Run T-shirts.
Briana leads the children in a mini Peace Run around the park grounds.
The torch is passed to each person making a wish for peace in their world.
Ed (Sevak) James was an inspirational and important organizer of some of the events here. He is the Founder and Co-Director of the Exodus Drum and Bugle Corps who came to entertain us here at the park today.
Ishaya is also a local member of our Peace Run who helped to run these events and even cooked us a great dish for the evening dinner.
Next on the schedule was painting and games for the children and adults alike.
Some children were totally immersed in their creative and colorful creations.
Peace was the main theme of the day. It was expressed in many ways.
They even made some creative and beautiful torches for us.
This young Peace Runner is right in step with Tavishi as each of them carry newly created torches.
Minu was very happy to offer her own creation with the children.
Some of the children played exciting relay games as part of the program for developing and sharing peace.
Even the adults and runners took part in some of the games with the children.
Rob Nicholls cheerfully brought his Peace Doves to the event to be released in a spirit of peace and freedom at the end of the program with the children.
After the first dove was released then 10 more were released.
It was exciting to see these beautiful birds enjoying their physical freedom into the clear blue sky.
Briana and some of the children were happy to be part of this special event.
Most of the children and adults present also had a chance to pose with the torch in oneness after a peaceful and fun event.
After the event we went to visit our good friend Siddhantha who owns a beautiful flower shop in Rosco Village.
Some of the glasswork was very original glassblowing work turned into terrariums on real tree branches.
The greenery and flowers were quite ornate and inspiring.
The flowers were beautiful and well arranged.
Our next program for the day took place at the James(Major) Adams
The Exodus drummers came once more to join and entertain us.
Director Kenneth Butler greeted us outside and shared the torch with us.
The South Shore Drill Team showed up in full regalia to lead us in a short parade.
They were strong and dynamic dancers with skills like rifle stock twirling.
Our team marched in the parade with the children from the community.
The women's drill team marched and twirled the flags with great skill and shythm as well.
Some of the children marching with us had a chance to carry the torch and spread the peace.
Along the way we met some happy families who enjoyed the parade and shared the torch with us.
This very young girl watched from inside with curiosity as she displayed our colorful Peace Run card.
James (Major) Adams passed away earlier this year so the parade of peace was also to honor this great community organizer who helped thousands of children in the community for decades to live a more peaceful and productive life.
Afte the parade we offered our Peace Run program at the Major Adams Community Center.
Director of the Center, Mr. Ken Butler, was involved with James Adams since he was a child and is carrying on with the work that Mr. Adams inspired him to do with many others in this Chicago community.
Among our illustrious speakers was Rev John Harris, (standing in background with dark suit). He is a former director of the Major Adams Community Committee here and worked with Major Adams in some of the programs to imporve the conditions for the citizens and families here.
Alderman Walter Burnett spoke eloquently on the need to communicate with others and make them feel comfortable. He said that "in the real world what counts is love."
Mr. Burnett was one of a number of recipients of the Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award for his tireless work to bring peace and stability in the community
Crystal Palmer, CHA Assistant Director of Resident Engagement, also spoke of the need for community involvement to help the families live a safer and more peaceful life.
Howard Lathan, Associate Executive Director of Community Development in the Chicago Area Project (CAP) received the Torch Bearer Award as a champion for children. He was among one of the first groups of children mentored by Major Adams decades ago.
Our distingushed speakers and awardees proudly stand with our grateful Peace Run team.
Two youth speakers, Kenedy Rodinson and Kenesha Allen share the torch with us after inspiring us with their comments about sharing goodwill and letting go of the ego when working with the younger children.
Calvin Jenkins (left) and Stanley Jasper work with the Major Adams Center and help to bring stability and peace to this community. Calvin was a former gang member when he was younger and commented that the Center saved his life and changed his outlook on bringing a positive change to the community.
The last event was the unveiling of a new plaque for the newly planted peace tree outside the Major Adams Community Center.
Alderman Burnett unveils the plaque along with the other community leaders at the Major Adams Center.
Mr. Burnett spoke of Major Adams as an 'angel' who brought peace to thousands of people, young and old, inspiring a new generation of productive and positive community members to work together in harmony.
The torch is passed as soil is placed on the newly planted Peace Tree.
A quote by the Founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy, displays this beautiful message of peace.
Later in the day we met at the Hope Church with many distinguished leaders as well. Here U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis greets our team.
Community organizer Virgil Crawford introduces the guests here at the Hope Church ceremony.
Pastor Percy Giles offers a blessing to the crowd commenting that "Peace is the greatest virtue a person can have."
Pastor Giles hands the Peace torch over to Congressman Davis who received the Torch Bearer award for this tireless public service. One of Congressman Davis' unique services to families is to help unite fathers who are incarcerated(in prison) with their children on Father's Day.
After receiving the award Congressman Davis spoke about the need for community participation and cooperation. He is a shining example of service to the wider community here as he serves the 7th Congressional District in Washington ,D.C.
Our team sings the Peace Run song written by Sri Chinmoy, the FOunder of the Peace Run.
Congressman Davis holds the torch with our team and the South Shore Drill Team as we prepare for another short parade to our next location.
The peace parade continued through some of the Austin area neighborhoods with full pageantry.
We were escorted by some very friendly and helpful police officers as well.
The South Shore Drill Team once again thrilled us with their dynamic and skillful marching choreography.
Our good friends from Exodus Drum and Bugle Core came once again to offer their skillfull talents to the dynamic spirit of the parade.
We are so grateful to these drummers who could make it to our events in the past few days. Although there are many more members including horn players, these five young men were able to get time to contribute their dynamic rhythms to our events.
People joined us along the route to express their feelings for the need of unity and peace in the communities here.
Non-violence is the order of the day with young and old alike.
Pastor Clark receives the Torch Bearer Award for his efforts to bring peace and positive change to the community here in the Austin area of Chicago.
He sang for us a very powerful rendering of the old spiritual song,"A change is Going to Come".
State Representative of the 78th District in Chicago, Camille Lilly, also received the PEace RUn Torch-Bearer Award. So was also with the Austin Chamber of Commerce and promotes the arts as an important aspect of a peaceful and healthy community.
Bob Drasek, Director of the South Austin Community Coalition, spent many decades as a community organizer. He received the Torch-Bearer Award for his tireless efforts in the community. He stressed the importance of loving your work. He loves his work and consequently feels that he is not even working when he does the things he loves to help the community.
Virgil Crawford, MC of this inspitational event, looks on as Bob Drasek offers his wisdom and inspiration to us after receiving the Torch Bearer Award.
Keia Giles, a very talented spiritual rapper artist, thrilled us with her inspirational spiritual poetry and her singing of the song, 'This Little Light of Mine'.
Dr. Banyon of the West Side Coalition offers his comments stressing the need to keep up the good work and giving up until we reach the end, our goal of peace.
Lillian (Bulldog) Drummond, receives the Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award. She has been working for over 50 years and at age 94 still has thee energy and inspiration to work for the community and for seniors through the South Austin Community Coalition.
Jacqueline Reeve, Founder and CEO of the Westside Health Authority(WHA), receives the Torch-Bearer Award. She has a Masters Degree in Social Services Administration and serves the community with cheerful, dedicated energy and enthusiasm.
Mrs. Reeve said she was speechless after receiving the Award but commented that we should try to become peace makers and not just peacke keepers. She also stressed the importance of forgiveness and love in trying to bring peace to the community.
To end the program Joy Anna Binion, daughter of Dr. Phalese A. Binion, President and CEO of the Westside Ministers' Coalition, sang beautifully for us. She sang about 'an army rising up to break every chain' and spoke of the need for faith to bring about peace and freedom.
The torch is then passed around for everyone to offer their wishes and prayers for peace.
Sukantika, our local coordinator who has worked tirelessly to arrange for these very important meetings, introduces the Peace Tree planted here many years ago with a new peace plaque dedication.
Tavishi, who is a full four month member of our North American team, is from Australia as each member of the team introduces their name and country.
Some of our honored guests by the Peace Tree and newly installed Peace Plaque with a poem by Sri Chinmoy, FOunder of the Peace Run.
We are grateful to the police officers who kindly escorted us and patiently waited for us until the end, sharing the peace torch as important peace-keepers in these neighborhoods.
Finally we are so grateful to Pradhan Balter, proprietor of the Victory's Banner Restaurant who fed us sumptuously day and night during our memorable tour of Chicago. Here he humbly even washes the dishes in the spirit of oneness and service to his Peace Run brothers and sisters. Thank you Pradhan!!
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