Morning showers and an eerily dark sky gave way to peace rainbows on September 21 as more than a dozen Saginaw nonprofits and close to 100 attendees joined the Mridha International Institute of Peace & Happiness (MIIPH) to celebrate International Peace Day with a Saginaw Peace Expo and Peace Walk. The Peace Expo was held at the Montague Inn Bed & Breakfast before the Peace Walk, where local philanthropies to highlight their respective connections to peacefulness. The 15 Saginaw organizations participating in the Peace Expo promoted peace within the family, between all cultures, and among all living creatures. Highlights included Youth for Understanding, an organization that provides intercultural exchange and educational programs, brought students from China, Germany, and Ukraine to participate in the Expo and Walk. The Humane Society of Saginaw County had an assortment of cuddly feline furballs available for adoption as well. Other organizations provided information on stress reduction, local history, and other positive activities designed to highlight the value of community connections.
Immediately before the Peace Walk, Dr. Debasish Mridha, the founder of MIIPH, welcomed the crowd while speaking from the Guitar Arena at the Montague Inn, with picturesque Lake Linton in the background. He was followed by two honored guests. Jake Bennett, deputy district director for Congressman Dan Kildee, issued a Congressional Proclamation to recognize Dr. Mridha and MIIPH for bringing the Saginaw community together to celebrate the 41st Annual International Day of Peace. Following Bennett’s dedication, Saginaw Mayor Brenda Moore also presented a Proclamation from the City of Saginaw to commemorate the occasion.
Before the Walk began, members of the MIIPH Founding Board, Chinu Mridha and Jenee Velasquez, released two white doves to symbolize peace and togetherness. The doves were provided by Dreamers White Dove Release of Saginaw. During the event, Taco Universe and Kona Ice provided food and cool treats. The Peace Walk left the Montague Inn at 5:30pm and headed south on Washington Avenue. Walkers passed by the Saginaw Children’s Zoo and Japanese Tea Garden and Cultural Center before heading west on Ezra Rust Drive. Walkers then crossed Ezra Rust at Fordney Avenue and made their way back to the Inn. The Walk was just over 1 mile in length.