May 7, 2023 Live from the road


Reported by Natabara Rollosson

Only a heart of love
And a life of service
Can be the torch-bearers
Of inner progress.”

-Sri Chinmoy

Dr. Agraha Levine welcomed everyone to the ceremony and invited the Peace Runners to run in.

The ceremony was assembled at the statue of Sri Chinmoy that is resides on the Burke-Gilman Trail, which is a major bike and pedestrian artery through the city of Seattle. Suzie Burke (middle of front row) graciously hosts the statue on their family property.

Pastor Jeff Barker of Fremont Baptist Church offered the opening invocation of a universal prayer for peace. Pastor Barker is a previous Torch-Bearer awark recipient and wore his medal to the event.

He was inspired to share a prayer from St. Francis of Assisi.

Senator Joe Nguyễn represents Washington’s 34th legislative district, a highly diverse area—demographically and geographically. Joe is the Senate’s Chair of the Environment, Energy & Technology Committee and serves actively on other committees. He has spent his tenure advocating for working families and community members who historically have been left out of the political process. His achievements address mitigating the climate crisis, student education opportunities—particularly for students of color and low-income students, affordable housing and the homelessness crisis, and reform for our criminal justice system. Maybe two words summarize Joe: “he serves.”

Senator Nguyễn told moving stories about his upbringing in an imigrant Vietnamese family, and how the kind-hearted service of his neighbors to build a wheelchair ramp for his father inspired him to walk on the path of service.

Dr. Krishna Thiagarajan has been the President and CEO of the Seattle Symphony and Benaroya Hall since 2018. Prior to that, he was chief executive of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In almost all his roles, the symphonies have seen great growth as well as increase in their international reputation. An accomplished pianist himself, Dr. Thiagarajan has helped open the experience of classical music to a much wider range of ages and cultures. In fact, in just a few days the Seattle Symphony will perform together with Shrek 2 in concert.

Ed Brondson
Founder, Outdoors for All
Introduced by Suzie Burke

Ed has served as the executive director of the Outdoors for All Foundation since 1995. He is passionate about helping people and has worked for nonprofits for 36 years. Outdoors for All, a nonprofit based in Seattle, helps with skills building for children and adults with disabilites.

From the young age of seventeen, Tom Turcich (tur-chich) had a single goal: to walk around the world. He began his walk at the age of 26, and 7 years later, on May 21st, 2022, he succeeded gloriously, only the tenth person ever to do so, walking 28,000 miles in 38 countries! Tom's pursuit of his dream in the face of unimaginable adversity is legendary, and he now is a guest speaker on how to find strength within to weather any storm and to end up victorious in life. Tom is here with his beloved dog Savannah who he adopted early in his global walk while in Texas – and they have been inseparable ever since!

Treats for his faithful dog Savannah!

Jagadambika reading aphorisms on peace by Sri Chinmoy.

Megna reading aphorisms on peace by Sri Chinmoy.

Dr. Anup has been certified as an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor plus has completed a study of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University.
In his pursuit of mastering true holistic medicine, he has also been certified in mindfulness meditation, shamanism, and Qigong.

Dr. Jean Eisele
Introduced by Bill Leon, former award recipient.

Dr. Jean Eisele is a retired educator. She was a professor at UW Bothell, well into her 70’s where she taught and mentored teachers in their master’s program. One of her more creative curricula was recruiting teachers in different countries to co-teach and have the kids co-create stories.
She was also Secretary of the Foundation for World Education and oversaw dozens and dozens of grants to projects in Auroville where she personally mentored people also. She also helped evaluate the educational outcomes of formerly homeless youth in a program in Tacoma.

Introduced by Dr. Nayak Polissar

David Owens is a Professor of Law at the University of Washington, and he directs their Civil Rights and Justice Clinic. David is a partner at Loevy & Loevy, a national civil rights firm, and has litigated dozens of suits involving wrongful convictions, police violence and excessive force, race discrimination, and others. David recently obtained exoneration for David Wright, convicted at age 17 after a false confession, and he served 28 years for a crime he did not commit. Professor Owens recently received the prestigious “Jackie McMurtrie Champion of Justice Award” from the Washington Innocence Project.

Prof. Robin Jeanne DiAngelo
Helping foster oneness of races

Professor Robin DiAngelo is a Professor of Education at the University of Washington. In addition, she holds two Honorary Doctorates. A two-time winner of the student’s choice for the best Educator of the Year in the School of Social Work, her area of research is in helping people understand the role of race specially amongst whites. She is an exceptional communicator and an acclaimed NY Times best-selling author.

Peace walk with the torch.

Torch carried by
Agraha Levine (United States), Alakananda Lebedev (United States), Aparajita Fishman (United States), Arpan DeAngelo (United States), Daulot Fountain (United States), Harita Davies (New Zealand), Marina Pak (Russia), Moni Neradilek (United States), Nandita Polissar (United States), Natabara Rollosson (United States), Nayak Polissar (United States), Preetidutta Thorpe (New Zealand), Rupasi Young (United States), Salil Wilson (Australia), Stota Fountain (United States), Vidushi Candaux (United States).  
Alakananda Lebedev

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