Peace Is a Journey, Not a Destination

Chicago Peace Fellow

On a balmy and breezy Saturday in early September, the fragrance of peace filled the air. The scent of patchouli and music of meditation greeted more than 200 residents as they entered Cooper Park located in the historic Maple Park neighborhood on Chicago’s far South Side. They journeyed to this urban ashram for a “Passport 2 Peace.”


Through a series of strategic, community engagement conversations, Maple Park residents acknowledged that community safety was their number one quality of life concern. Out of these conversations, a local design team was created composed of residents, the Maple Park Neighborhood Association, Chicago Police 5th District CAPS, the Chicago Park District and area communities of faith, and it was out of this team that a “Passport 2 Peace” was born. Significant collaborative input from the Goldin Institute’s Chicago Peace Fellows and the Chicago Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) Collaborative’s Neighborhood Interns helped shaped the event. The Maple Park Passport 2 Peace Neighborhood Summit is one of 3 such events in different locations on the South Side.


The concept behind the Passport 2 Peace is that peace is an “inside job” that begins within each of us. The Passport 2 Peace is an inward journey to promote the place of peace that resides in every person and an outward journey to build community. Massage therapy, mediation, yoga and tai chi demonstrations and reflexology stations staffed by certified experts provided the tickets on the journey to inner peace. One participant remarked, “It was amazing to see children doing tai chi.”


As participants moved from station to station, Peace Ambassadors clad in sky blue t-shirts applied stickers to individuals’ passports and served as hosts for each activity. The children played on the playground and did face painting while the adults explored their inner peace. After sharing a community meal to promote community peace and facilitate relationship building, more than 50 people participated in three Inter-generational Peace Circles led by Nehemiah Trinity Rising, a grassroots consultancy specializing in restorative practices leadership training.


On the Sunday prior to the Passport 2 Peace, a Peace Makers’ Sabbath Celebration was held at Maple Park United Methodist Church. The event organizers were invited to come and pray for peace. The Peace Makers’ Sabbath encouraged participants to pray, preach and act for peace. Passport 2 Peace was the action step.

Related Articles
  • img
    Chicago Peace Fellows - October 09, 2019
    The Peace Fellows are partnering with DePaul University's Technology for Social Good Lab to create a city-wide “Living Asset Map” to connect grassroots leaders with a range of civic institutions dedicated to peace building in Chicago.
  • img
    Chicago Peace Fellows - September 12, 2019
    With the first cohort of the Chicago Peace Fellows finishing their summer projects and nearing the end of their curriculum, prominent advisers convened to discuss strategies for sharing the Fellows’ accomplishments and wisdom during their upcoming graduation.
  • img
    Chicago Peace Fellows - September 07, 2019
    Over 200 neighbors gathered in Cooper Park in the West Pullman community on the Far South Side for the second of the Passport 2 Peace series, one of the Chicago Peace Fellows’ summer projects.
  • img
    Chicago Peace Fellows - August 30, 2019
    On Friday, August 30, the Chicago Peace Fellows toured the University of Chicago Urban Labs to learn more about the work of the Crime Lab, hosted by Kimberly Smith, associate director of criminal justice initiatives.