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Friday gathering by various faiths seeks to promote understanding, reduce tension
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Valarie Ford spoke at the Peace Walk last month at Graystone Park.

The Manteca Interfaith Community — an effort across the religious spectrum — is hoping to foster more understanding to reduce the potential for violence such as the beating of an elderly Sikh gentleman in August in a neighborhood park.

It is why they are hoping to expand attendance at this year’s Manteca observation of the International Day of Peace that takes place on Friday, Sept. 21, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Boulevard. Attendance is open to the entire community.

MICA is comprised of St. Paul’s United Methodist church, Transformed through Hope Ministries, the Sikh Community, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Islamic Center of Manteca.

The Peace Day program will feature local community leaders Mayor Steve DeBrum, Councilman Gary Singh, Manteca Unified School District Board President Steven Schuler, young adults and youth from the various congregations in MICA. 

“Though this event cannot change the whole world, MICA hopes to inspire and enlighten those who attend, and help all who come feel a little more peace on earth – beginning right here in Manteca,” noted MICA spokesperson Charleen Carroll.

Previous Peace Day events have been held at the Manteca Civic Center.

Carroll noted that at the MICA meeting, a discussion ensued about the recent beating of an elder Sikh gentleman.  Questions arose, such as:

u”Why are some in our culture so violent?”

u“Is there an underlying reason for all of this?”

u“How can the community come together?”

“Dialogue was respectful as opinions were given, and hope was offered that those in our town might learn to be more inclusive and remember their common humanity,” Carroll noted.

A Peace Walk six days after the beating drew more than 500 Manteca residents to the Graystone Park southeast of Louise Avenue and Union Road where the frail 71-year-old was attacked. The event was designed to send a message that the community supported the victim and that attacks such as the one that happened that appears to have racial and/or religious overtures will not stand in Manteca.

This Friday marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations that established an International Peace Day observance every year on Sept. 21. Peace Day is designed to provide a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a “Culture of Peace”.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email