By: Tonya Jackson
Recently the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run (Peace Run) stopped at The Montessori School of Pensacola while making its way through the Gulf Coast. Founded by the late Sri Chimnoy in 1987, this global torch relay promotes world peace one stop at a time. Chinmoy stated, “Everything I am doing is aimed at one goal – the establishment of a oneness-family founded upon peace. If I have peace and you have peace and everybody has peace, then only can we have a oneness-family.” The Peace Run has worn other titles, but its goal has always been a run for better understanding and the promotion of Peace. Some of the participants in the Peace Run have been Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Carl Lewis.
Annually runners from all over the world participate on various teams that span the globe. When the team stopped at the Montessori school they had teammates from Australia, France, other European countries, and the United States. This relay started in New York on April 17th.
While waiting outside for their arrival I saw the lone torch bearer running to the school, Salil Wilson. He was soon joined by his teammates and their caravan. As the students arrived for the Peace Run presentation the runners lined up, ran in, and were met with excited applause by the lower and upper elementary and middle school students at Montessori.
Wilson explained how worldwide peace starts with one person at a time. He and the other runners demonstrated different scenarios as opportunities to bring peace to a situation. The students in turn, said if the actions were good or bad. They also taught the students their theme song, complete with hand gestures. As they concluded the presentation some of the students were given the opportunity to hold the torch and then they all participated in a quick run.
After the children left, Wilson stopped for a moment to speak with me before they departed for Mobile. “We have various team across North America and the world. Our team will be back in New York on August 13th. Right now we have a team in Slovenia and they just met their Prime Minster.”
When asked why he participates in the Peace Run he shared, “It’s the opportunity to connect with people at a really deep level because everyone feels this yearning for peace. They may not even think about it consciously. When they see what we’re doing and that we’re running, people are inspired and they want to do something in their own lives to make the world a more peaceful place. People show us enormous generosity and kindness, it’s a very fulfilling experience.”