Manhattan Beach, Compton Schools to Celebrate International Peace Day
Sep 20, 2020 11:05AM
By Jeanne Fratello
Peace poles - Image via Stand4Peace.org and WorldPeace.org
Event Will Focus on 'Unification Through Education'
- May Peace Prevail in our Hearts
- May Peace Prevail in our Schools
- May Peace Prevail in our Communities
- May Peace Prevail on Earth
At noon, participants will observe the virtual global U. N. "Peace Wave" that will be happening at noon in every time zone on September 21.
The schools will also announce the creation of a proposed volunteer pen pal program between students.
Long-Standing Relationship with Compton
Stand4Peace is led by Manhattan Beach resident Karen Wooldridge along with Pennekamp Elementary educator Donna Barney Nicholson. Together, they are advocates for an education curriculum of peace-building skills and non-violent communication.
Wooldridge and Nicholson were inspired by a "global peace course" they took, led by Scilla Elworthy and Sheva Carr. They were the coordinators of last year's "Stand in the Sand" beach event in honor of International Peace Day. They formally organized as Stand4Peace this summer so that they could apply for grants to fund their efforts.
The partnership with Compton schools goes back almost ten years, said Wooldridge.
"This partnership with Compton Unified stems from a
long-time relationship with Manhattan Beach parent Court Crandall and Compton
District school board member Satra Zurita, [from] when Court created the
documentary Free Throw, highlighting the high school students of Compton
High School in 2011. Many Manhattan Beach families supported Court’s project including myself," said Wooldridge.
For this year's event, they wanted to come up with a way to continue that partnership even if it had to be a virtual event, said Wooldridge. "Our challenge was to decide how to commemorate the
day virtually. Donna and I presented the idea to Pennekamp Principal Karina Gerger and MBUSD Superintendent Michael Matthews. With
support, we asked Court if he would reach out to Satra Zurita
and Compton Superintendent Darin Brawley. Everyone welcomed the
partnership and we created our local theme for the day, 'Unification
Wooldridge continued, "The response on both side has been incredible. We
believe International Peace Day will be the beginning of partnership
that will allow the students to learn and grow from each other. This
relationship will be virtual for now but our hope is to meet in person
when appropriate. We are working with a few online school “pen pal”
programs to create a custom program for the two districts to connect
The full list of program contributors and partners for the event include:
- Dr. Darin Brawley - Superintendent, CUSD
- Dr. Michael Matthews - Superintendent, MBUSD
- Dr. Jennifer Moon - Dir of Education Services, CUSD
- Lakisha Moore - Principal, Emerson Elementary School-Compton
- Dr. Karina Gerger - Principal, Pennekamp Elementary School-Manhattan Beach
- Erin Toppenberg - Consultant; Former representative to the United Nations for NGO Pathways to Peace
- Donna Barney Nicholson - 1st Grade Teacher, Pennekamp Elementary School and Co-Founder of STAND4PEACE
- Karen Wooldridge - Co-Founder of STAND4PEACE
- Court Crandall - writer, speaker, advertising executive, director of Free Throw documentary, MB parent, and long-time mentor to students of CUSD that helped create the partnership.
- Mark Burrell, CEO – CELEBYOU Talent Challenge App (The app is running a concurrent contest for people to submit a video or photo to the app to show how they are working to shape peace together).