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by Bronwyn Mauldin
Sunday, Oct. 14, 2001 at 6:18 PM
Part I. More than 500 people create a human peace sign on the beach in Santa Monica
More than 500 people stood together on the beach at Santa Monica on this chilly, foggy Saturday afternoon to make human peace symbol. They were there calling for peace, healing and nonviolence, both for individuals and worldwide.
Amidst the peace sign stood Santa Monica mayor Michael Feinstein, city council member Kevin McKeown, and 9 year-old Ember Knight from Topanga, along with her mother Sage.
Ember was part of the day's program, which was organized by the Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City. She took to the sandy stage early in the afternoon with the children's choir. Their first song was Louis Armstrong's classic "What a Wonderful World," currently being censored by some U.S. radio stations.
Ember later said that she feels sad for victims of both September 11 and of the subsequent bombings in Afghanistan. She thinks that the bombings are not the right answer. "It isn't a solution. It's getting back at each other, but it isn't a solution. I feel like there's a much better way to do things."
Children's choir director Elle Perrault knew about the controversy over "What a Wonderful World" when she selected it. She chose it because the words expressed her feelings. "Even though there is death and destruction, the trees are still green," she said. "There is still life beyond that pain."
Part of what Perrault sees in this "wonderful world" is the way it is growing closer together. For that reason, she says, the United States cannot afford to bomb other countries. "What we don't realize is that we're dropping the bombs on our own selves."
When Jenny Mack, a fifth grade teacher from Venice, answered her cell phone at a little after 2 p.m., she explained to her caller why she couldn't get away just then. "I'm in the middle of a human peace sign!"
Over on the next leg of the peace sign another woman was on her cell phone, waving her free arm overhead and craning her neck to find a friend somewhere else in the sign. "There you are!" she eventually shouted into the phone, and waved more vigorously.
Djay Donavon came to the human peace sign with a friend. Several of her friends have been involved with the peace movement for a while, but she went to her first anti-war demonstration on Monday. Donavon says she thinks the country should be pulling together, but not in the negative way that it is right now. She doesn't expect to come to many more public peace events, but she has a clear opinion of the current war: "It's bullshit."
This human peace sign was the the brainchild of Marsha Straubing, Director of the Agape Center
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