Today we started our day at the first Sri Chinmoy Peace Blossom in the world! This bridge unites the Town of Cumberland and the City of Central Falls, and has been a meeting point between local officials and the Peace Run every two years since 1989!
The plaque on the bridge.
It was a beautiful day, and our international team was thrilled to catch up with local officials, runners, and Peace Run coordinators.
Long time Peace Run supporter, Vijali, and her team were responsible for organising this Peace Bridge and all of the Rhode Island Peace Blossoms. We were extremely happy she was able to come out and meet with us today!
Cumberland Mayor, Jeff Mutter, welcomed the team. He is continuing a long tradition of local mayors supporting the Peace Run. Thank you Jeff!
Rhode Island State Representative, Joshua Giraldo, has also been a long time supporter of the Peace Run. He also welcomed the team.
Cumberland Mayor, Jeff Mutter holding the Peace Torch with Mayor Maria Rivera of Central Falls. State Representative, Joshua Giraldo, looks on.
We gave our Torch-Bearer Award to Mayor Maria Rivera of Central Falls. Maria Rivera is the 33rd Mayor of Central Falls. She is the first woman Mayor in city history, and first Latina Mayor in the State of Rhode Island. Prior to this role, Mayor Rivera was the top-vote getter in the 2018 election of all Central Falls City Council Candidates, and became the first female and first Latino Central Falls City Council President, a position she earned in just her second term as a council member. She is well loved for her dedication to her community. We were thrilled to be able to honor her in this way- congratulations, Mayor Rivera!
We offered Mayor Riveria an artwork by Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy, entitled "Imagine Peace Here and Now"
Also present was Mayor Rivera's Chief of Staff, Zuleyma Gomez.
Arpan with local Rhode Island Peace Runners and Coordinators, Sharika, Vijali, and Virangini.
It was time to run to our next destination, and long-time local runner and Peace Run supporter, Brian Mulligan, led the way.
Brians good friend, Dee Bird, is also a long-time supporter of the Peace Run, and we were thrilled she could join us!
Our next location was the Pawtucket Peace Bridge, and another long-time supporter and good friend of the Peace Run, Mayor Donald Grebien of Pawtucket, came out to welcome us.
Our videographer, Natabara, was happy to catch up with Vijali!
Two mayors for Peace!
We sang our Peace Run song and celebrated Peace!
Sergeant Spetelunas of the Pawtucket Police Department has supported the Peace Run many times also. He arranged for a Police escort to guide us to the Pawtucket boundary on our way to the Rhode Island State House.
Dee is an incredibly inspiring athlete and person- thank you for joining us, Dee!
Mother Mary's Blessings.
Olivia finding some motivation.
We reached the exquisitely designed and preserved Rhode Island State House! The State House was built in 1891 and is a neoclassical design which features the fourth largest structural-stone dome in the world, topped by a gilded statue of "The Independent Man". The Independent Man represents freedom and independence and alludes to the independent spirit which led Roger Williams to settle and establish Providence Plantations and later the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
The ceiling inside the dome!
We were delighted to be welcomed by Lt. Governor Sabina Matos.
Lt Governor Matos offered our local coordinator, Sharika Xavier, a Proclamation recognising the Peace Run, on behalf of the Governor, Daniel McKee, who was not able to join us today. She also offered us her own official recognition of our visit.
We then offered the Lt Governor our Torch-Bearer Award. She is the second woman to hold this post and the first woman of color. Additionally, she is the first Dominican American to hold the position of Lieutenant Governor in the United States. She is well respected and loved by all who meet her and we were so inspired to be in her presence!
We were honored to be invited to The State Room, an entrance area for the office of the governor which contains a full-scale portrait of George Washington by Rhode Island native Gilbert Stuart. This room is also where the governor has press conferences and bill signings at the State House.
Lt. Governor Matos put this message on twitter after our visit: "Thank you to @ThePeaceRun for your dedication to fostering peace & community across the globe. It was a joy to welcome you during your stop in Rhode Island!"
We were extremely inspired by Lt. Governor Matos, and deeply grateful she spent so much time with us. We felt her to be a wonderful person and true friend.
As we were leaving a big group of local children came in, and the Lt. Governor spoke with them about the Peace Run. We would sure love to have her on our team!
Our next stop was to visit the statue of Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy, in the exquisite natural surroundings of a local Park.
A team shot with our founder.
We then visited "Aspiration Tree", a Norweigan Maple which was dedicated by Sri Chinmoy in 1982. At that time he made the comment, "When aspiration is not doing well, when dedication is not doing well, just come and sit here for immediate inspiration and dedication".
A great end to our day was a delicious meal offered to the team by local Mexican Restaurant, Xaco Taco!
Our great Seattle coordinator Rupasi is a big supporter of the peace run. Since she was not able to be with us in person, she reached out to this restaurant and the manager, Chris, who immediately agreed to sponsor our meal.
Oliveria eying up a new style of Peace Run van...
Our kind waitress and her friend take a moment to hold the peace torch.
Thank you Mariano, for taking care of us!
Biggest thank you to Chris, Mariano and all the Xaco Taco staff for a great meal, atmosphere, and the opportunity to meet you all!
When we are happy, We scatter peace-petals Everywhere.