Celebrating International Peace Day


URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign Community Coalition invited people to an event for International Peace Day.

The Silver Street and Vawter Street area has seen violent crimes in the past, but with various recent projects, community members say crime rates are down.

“It’s huge and it matters,” Giovanna Dibenedetto says.

These neighbors are banding together and throwing a party on International Peace Day.

“It was a day to celebrate. we’ve had three years without any shootings in the summer,” Dibenedetto explains.

Organizers wanted the people who live in the Silverwood neighborhood to know how important they are.

“All people deserve and have a right to a safe and healthy community,” Sam Smith says.

People came out of their homes to listen and spend time with each other. But the party was more than just that, it was a way for this community to learn about the work others are doing to help.

“We started an organization called the peace project that engages young people into using art and cultural resources in order to build peace in communities,” Smith says.

That art could be seen, and heard, throughout the street.

“The music you’re hearing in the background was written by some young people in order to promote this message of peace, ” Smith explains.

Those who call this place home felt the impact of a day focused around them.

“They feel like they matter, they feel like they belong. It gives them a sense of pride instead of feeling so bad about where they live because that’s what they’ve been told,” Dibenedetto says.

Helping to grow, together.

“When we come together, we’re certainly more capable and more powerful,” Smith says.

Mayor Diane Marlin will be presenting a sign that will be put in two places saying, ‘Welcome to Silverwood.’ Silverwood is the name of the Urbana neighborhood that was decided last year at a ‘name the hood’ contest.

Forever My Brothers, a local rap group that raps about the issue of violence through music, will also be performing.

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