Nearly 200 people from 18 nations to celebrate the International Love and Peace Day
Nearly 200 people from 18 nations gathered in the City of Walnut, California on Sept. 13, 2015 to celebrate the International Love and Peace Day and the 15th anniversary of Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy in Los Angeles. Through various activities such as cultural performances, choral presentations, and forums, the attendees used concrete actions to support love and peace. They hoped to encourage more people to spread the seeds of love and peace, instilling more positive energy into today’s turbulent world.
The event was graced by honored guests including Lauren Pong, representative of Congressman Ed Royce; council members of the City of Walnut Eric Ching, "Tony" Cartagena, and Nancy Tragarz; Dr. Tony Torng, member of the Walnut Valley Unified School District Board; Angelena Pride, member of the Rowland Unified School District Board; Nelson Huang, chair of APAPA-Southern California Regional HQ; Sukhee Kang, former mayor of Irvine; etc. The guests hailed from 18 nations such as Korea, Iran, Russia, Panama, etc.; while others traveled from Northern California, Ventura County, and Beverly Hills to attend the event.
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, President of the Federation of World Peace and Love and Zhang-men-ren (grandmaster) of Tai Ji Men stated in his opening remarks: “This coming September 15 is the tenth anniversary of the International Love and Peace Day. It is also the 15th birthday of the Federation of World Peace and Love. At this moment when the world is confronted with crises of climate change, environmental degradation, war, disease and poverty, we are gathering here for a good reason, which is to strive together for our collective well-being with strong confidence, enduring courage and the never-ending quest for love and peace.” He also stressed, “Love and peace is not unreachable if we start the action with ourselves. Every one of us here and all the Tai Ji Men dizi around the world are the seeds of love and peace. A kind heart consists of conscience with calmness. Let’s treat one another with politeness and good manners. Together we will overcome difficulties by drawing upon our collective strengths to create a new era of love and peace.”
At the “International Forum on the Awakening of Conscience,” honored guests and speakers advocated that it is imperative to promote love and peace across the globe, and they shared how they practice love and peace in their professions and lives. Professor Sean Monemi at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona remarked, “Peace and love will bring happiness, and happiness will promote peace and love….Love and peace start at home with parents. And then we go to school from elementary K-12. And we learn from our friends what love and peace is all about. My opinion is that perhaps at the early age, we can promote that….It’s very important, and I think we are not doing a good job on that.”
Well-planned cultural performances brought a lot of excitement to the event. While a great emphasis is placed on individualism in American culture, Tai Ji Men martial arts formation displayed great unity. The martial arts presentation galvanized the audience as the martial artists worked as a team to confidently demonstrate their powerful movements. With their graceful dance, lantern and fan dancers beamed and radiated happy energies to the audience. Members of the Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy, Federation of World Peace and Love, and Association of World Citizens sang a peaceful and heart-warming song called “Love,” conveying the common wish of all people for a more peaceful and secure world. After the event, Jan Harkness from West Hollywood stated, “I had a great day here and I love how the members here spreading love, peace, to the world and everybody in the whole world will be in a happy place if they have this in their lives, especially health-wise, stress-wise, and just love each other. That’s what this place is about.”
Fletcher Wu, 17, stood out among all the performers. He participated in both Chinese and Western cultural performances including Tai Ji Men Chuan (Chinese boxing) Formation, double staff martial arts demonstration, choral presentation, energetic dance, and drumming. Fletcher said, “Through Tai Ji Men martial arts training, I’ve learned to be brave and confident and to do my best in whatever I do. It was very fun practicing martial arts with other Tai Ji Men members, and I don’t feel lonely. Although I’m only 17, I’m very happy that I’m living a rich and meaningful life.” An only child, he started practicing martial arts at Tai Ji Men when he was in elementary school and has participated in many Tai Ji Men’s cultural performances and training exercises. Immigrating to the U. S. at the age of 15, he found those training exercises helped him to better adapt himself to the new life here. Asked if he felt tired after the morning and afternoon activities, he said with a smile, “When I saw the audience smiling and laughing heartily and heard some attendees saying that they saw hope in us, I felt it was very worthwhile to put my heart, efforts, and time into the event. It was so cool that many people in the audience said they felt love and peace from our performances!” Now a high school senior, when preparing for his college application, he recounted his years of volunteer work with Tai Ji Men, including conducting international cultural exchanges, participating in global events for world peace and love, and his attendance at the UN DPI/NGO Annual Conference in New York in 2014.
Besides traditional Chines e cultural performances, there were also colorful and lively cultural exchanges from the Alma Tica Costa Rica Folk-Dance Group and Grupo Congo Istmeno de Panama, a cultural group of Congolese Panamanians. Through music and dance, people from different ethnic backgrounds got to know one another and make friends. That was a very effective way to enhance international friendships and promote love and peace. This event, in celebration of International Love and Peace Day, was filled with happy positive energies, aiming to inspire all people to ignite the love and peace within their hearts. We should never underestimate our own power; each force of goodness, large or small, can snowball into a tremendous force to turn around the planet’s destiny for the better and make a world of love and peace a reality.