Dozens of people gathered at Parc Beaudet on Wednesday to mark the International Day of Peace. Young and old took turns in front of the public to send a message of inclusion and unity to the Saint-Laurent population.
The event, which has been held annually for many years in Saint-Laurent, had the slogan “put an end to racism”. Elected officials, residents and community organizations gathered at Beaudet Park, also known as the “Peace Park”, for this commemoration.
“Racism is one of the main obstacles to peace,” said community affairs officer for the Bahá’í community of Montreal and member of the event’s organizing committee, Gigi Vidal.
Deputy Mayor and Borough Councilor Vana Nazarian then challenged residents to become agents of change in their communities. Some 81% of the inhabitants of Saint-Laurent are of immigrant origin or have a parent born abroad.
“We all have a role to play in promoting peace,” she says. Every gesture counts. There’s so much injustice around the world […]but we have a responsibility to raise awareness, to educate and sometimes even to find peace within ourselves.”
Young people from the Bon Courage Community Center then recited a poem delivering a message of inclusion, to a musical score. A minute of silence was also observed at the end of the event.
The importance of action
The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations to celebrate and reinforce the ideals of peace throughout the world. A 24-hour period of non-violence and ceasefire is observed for the occasion.
For the organizers of the day in Saint-Laurent, this event is an opportunity each year to remind the community of the importance of acting to strengthen this peace.
“To do this event, it reminds us a little that we have to start with ourselves to make peace, and after the rest will follow, indicates the educational advisor at the Cégep de Saint-Laurent, Ariane Bureau. We want it to bounce back and resonate with people.”
International events of the past year, such as the war in Ukraine, add to the relevance of this day, according to Gigi Vidal.
“It’s more important than ever,” she says. We continue to be proactive so that there continues to be harmony at the local level, here in Saint-Laurent.”
A commemorative plaque is present in Beaudet Park in tribute to the participation of Canadians in United Nations peacekeeping missions. It is to this monument that the park owes its nickname of “peace park”.