Arkansas Peace Week 2022 -- a program of activities with a mission to educate and promote peacemaking and peacekeeping -- begins this weekend.
The annual event organized by the Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice, working with other groups and individuals, seeks to raise awareness of organizations working to build a lasting peace in Arkansas. This year's theme is: "End Racism; Build Peace."
Two preliminary events will take place Saturday:
• 10 a.m. -- DecARcerate Conference at the Ron Robinson Theater on the Central Arkansas Library System campus in downtown Little Rock. The conference speakers include scholars, advocates and former incarcerated people.
• All during the day -- Seventh Street Murals workday, open to volunteers. The event, which is planned in coordination with Arkansas Peace Week, was one of the original happenings of the first Peace Week events in 2015. More details are available on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/arkansaspeaceweek.
Arkansas Peace Week 2022, which is planned in coordination with the nationwide Campaign Non-Violence Week of Actions, begins Sunday and runs through Sept. 25.
The opening event -- "Peace Across Faiths" -- is an interfaith religious service at Westover Hills Presbyterian Church, 6400 Kavanaugh Boulevard, Little Rock. The meal and program begin at 6 p.m. and are open to the public. Face masks will be required.
An overview of the week's schedule is available at www.arkansaspeaceweek.com and https//www.facebook.com/arkansaspeaceweek.
• Peace Week Art Contest Finalist Display, all day during the week, Arkansas State Capitol, starting Sunday.
• Mindfulness for Kids at the Ecumenical Buddhist Society of Little Rock at 3 p.m.
• Caesar Exhibit at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock -- all day. Panel discussion on Syria starts at 4 p.m. The exhibit displays photos smuggled out of Syria early in the civil war that document acts of torture by state agents. On Sept. 23, a panel discussion will take place featuring Syrian activists and international human rights lawyers who are working to promote accountability for atrocities.
• Storytime at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library, beginning at 10 a.m. Target audience of up to 5 years old, but children of all ages are welcome.
• Transforming Conflict from the Inside Out. The event will be held online, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Based on the model of non-violent communication, participants will enhance their competencies in speaking honestly, listening empathetically, responding with courage and compassion to criticism, and remaining resilient in the midst of conflict. Registration is available at: https://docs.google.
• Creating Anti-Racist Faith Communities, 7 p.m., 1501 Market St., Little Rock. The Interfaith Center, Interfaith Arkansas and Arkansas Center for Dialog and Culture have teamed up to explore the relationship between race and religion. Arkansas faith leaders consider how to work toward ending racism in faith communities, and building a culture of peace and transformation in our state.
• Arkansas Peace Week Essay Readings and Art Contest winners, Arkansas State Capitol, 1 p.m. Winning essays will be read in the Rotunda of the State Capitol.
• 7th Street Mural Festival, starting at 12 p.m., 2486 W. 7th St. in Little Rock. The festival features art, food, music, dance, children's activities and discussions with artists and nonprofit groups. Also, guests will have an opportunity to use their artistic skills and help paint one of the murals.
Arkansas Peace Week also includes school lesson plans and art and essay contests.
Peace Week is made possible through a grant from the National Park Service in partnership with Jefferson National Parks Association and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.
Central High's 65th
This year marks the 65th Anniversary Commemorative Event for the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. Sessions from the 22nd through the 24th of the month will cover a range of issues, including mental health/wellness, equity and the criminal justice system.