Leland Pappert was feeling the peace and harmony Sunday afternoon.
“This is my ohana. This is my family. They have open hearts,” he said, then added, “It’s a done deal, bro. It’s all good.”
Pappert, wearing a colorful lei with a small star on his forehead, was asked if he believed the country could find peace in its current state. He laughed as he said, “If we had her for president instead of Trump,” as he pointed toward the Rev. Kiah Abendroth on stage.
The man with the flowing white beard and big smile was one of about 100 people at the International Day of Peace rally put on by the Interfaith Roundtable of Kauai at Lydgate Park.
It included song, poetry and dance as people united to express their hopes for a world without war, without hate, without prejudice.
Robert Gluckson closed his eyes at times and stretched out his arms as he swayed to the music that echoed in the large pavilion on another sunny, humid afternoon. He praised the IROK for its efforts over the years to promote peace.
“It builds community to get connected with other people who want to share the feeling of peace,” he said.
Gluckson said the ability to move toward that goal doesn’t rest with politicians or those with money, but within each person.
“The power is in us, right here, right today, and I feel it strongly here,” he said.
Sister Deborah Burnham spoke of love, happiness and beauty as Dane Cernobori played the flute softly in the background.
She asked people to stand, close their eyes and “take in this music of medicine.”
“Radiate the peace that you are,” she said.
Burnham said she hoped the Day of Peace gathering promotes change.
“We can do it. It’s as simple as remembering what’s inside,” she said.”By coming together and experiencing that, the hope will be there, the knowing we can pull together as a community and be an example for the whole world.”
Tom Smithwick, a member of the Baha’i faith, said there needs to be internal and external peace.
Internally, he said that means being aware of the existence of the one true God and “that we all come from the same creator, the same universal being, so there’s no reason for any prejudice. We have to put aside all prejudice, be it political, be it religious, be it whatever.”
The external peace, he said, means that “all of us are going to have to recognize the oneness of mankind as a pivotal point of our existence, what it really means,” he said, adding, “then we can work toward a unity of vision, a unity for all mankind as a whole to work toward a peace that takes the resources of the earth to benefit mankind, not the resources of the earth to divide mankind.”
Dr. Kani “DrB” Blackwell was enthusiastic as she explained why she wanted to be part of the celebration.
“I want to feel that music, I want to feel that poetry, I want to feel the peace that needs to go throughout this country,” she said. “And especially with young people. They need to know this is the future. Let’s make peace. C’mon, folks.”