When the Manteca Interfaith Community Alliance formed over a year ago to bring together differing faiths under the common goal of benefitting the community in which they serve, promoting peace – both in the community and across the globe – was a goal of the founders.
And for the second year on Thursday, the group, which goes by the acronym MICA, held its second International Day of Peace celebration at Manteca City Hall in conjunction with the officially designated United Nations day that focuses on bridging gaps between different groups, communities and nations.
“I think that we had a great turnout and those that are here are going to keep pushing to make Manteca a more peaceful place for the people that live here,” said Imam Mohammad ElFarra of the Islamic Center of Manteca – who delivered the closing remarks. “It’s great to see people from so many different faiths coming out to support this effort and helping to make this what it is.
“When you look at a map Manteca may seem like an insignificant place to somebody who doesn’t know about it, but there’s a lot of energy in this town and people really do care about one another and as an interfaith group we’re doing great things and it’s great that everybody supports our efforts.”
Manteca Police Chief Jodie Estarziau spoke to the crowd about breaking away from “looking through our own paradigm” and working with people towards achieving a goal like peace – in whatever form it may be.
“I hope that we can learn to see past the biases that we have,” Estarziau said. “Tolerance goes a long way towards understanding.”
As part of the program, a group of community youth read a poem entitled “I Wish for Peace” and all in attendance participated in a reading of “Let There Be Peace on Earth” before offering the opportunity for people to join into a rendition of the song.
ElFarra, who was instrumental in organizing the event last year, referred to the unexpected wind during his closing remarks as the “beneficial winds of peace” before calling for everybody to “see lights of guidance in our hearts, bodies, minds and souls.”
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