GRCC celebrates World Peace Day with music, poetry



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213

Sept. 19, 2016 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College will mark World Peace Day with music and poetry on Sept. 21.

Activities will run from 11:40 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the Dr. Juan R. Olivarez Student Plaza. Sean Mackey, an assistant professor of English and editor of GRCC's Display magazine, will deliver opening remarks and lead a moment of silence. 

English professor Shavval Fleming, who organizes the commemoration, said Mackey is a world citizen. Students in Mackey's developmental composition course explore race, politics and social justice in their writing. He hopes to inspire them to actively improve the world and their communities.

In 2009, Mackey and his family moved to Ghana. While his wife, Amy, conducted research, he traveled around the country playing traditional African music with a drum and dance group. He and his family have traveled back to Ghana many times since his return to the United States. He has also walked 220 miles across Michigan twice to raise funds for a school in Ghana. This past summer, he walked the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain with his family.

"Every time I hear him speak, I can hear his passion for doing his part to make the world a better place," Fleming said.

A performance by world drummer and music instructor Sam Gould at noon will be followed by GRCC choirs at 12:50 p.m. and poetry readings at 1:30 p.m. Chef Gilles Renusson, a professor with GRCC's Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, will organize students in his annual sugar pull at 2 p.m.

Throughout the event, students can chalk the plaza, sign the peace pledge banner, get free buttons and cookies, and tag their selfies with #GRCC and #PeaceDay.

If it rains, Peace Day activities will take place on the second floor of the Student Community Center, 122 Lyon St. NE.

The U.N. General Assembly established the International Day of Peace -- often referred to as World Peace Day -- in 1981. It is held on Sept. 21 to strengthen the ideals of peace among all nations. 

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.