In case you weren’t aware. I love the Peoria area. Not just the music, not just the city… but the people who make this city what it is.
After another shocking incidence of violence in Peoria last month, so many people said they wished there was something they could do, but nobody knew what that could be. Those of us who aren’t faced with the violence issue on a daily basis often have the luxury of pretending it doesn’t exist. But when a child dies, the world stops, even if just for a moment.
Social media was flooded with people trying to discuss the problem in constructive and non-constructive ways. People grieved and people argued and different groups held meetings to discuss and walks to encourage and vigils to pray. But nobody could fix the problem.
At one of these meetings, I heard someone say, “Everyone has tried to solve the problem. I wish I knew what the answer is. Nobody knows the answer.”
And I knew in my heart that wasn’t true.
Love is the answer. It’s the only answer.
When you love other people enough to step out of your comfort zone, look at someone who is different from you and say, “I want to get to know you.” That’s where the making a difference starts. It doesn’t fix everything that is happening in each other’s lives, it doesn’t make you automatically agree with each other on every subject, but it does give both of you understanding of what the other is going through and what their needs are.
It makes you aware that they are people. They aren’t people who need to be feared or looked down on or judged or even people who should be put up on a pedestal. Just people. Just like you. Just like me.
I’ve spent a large portion of the last year an a half with Peoria Music Live breaking out of my shyness. It’s not easy, and I still find myself reverting at times. But the fact is I LOVE PEOPLE and I LOVE PEORIA. That’s why this event was a no-brainer for me.
I have never been the most politically correct person in the room, although I try not to offend. I have mostly come to terms with the fact that no matter how hard I try, I will likely say and do some things that will upset somebody.
I’ve decided that staying silent because I am afraid someone might be offended is less important than the impact I can make if I speak up. All I can do is my best and hope that my heart is what people see.
My heart is for helping people… all people. And, in case you didn’t notice… people need help. As a whole, we are a mess!
Hurt people hurt people… and there are a lot of hurting People in Peoria for a lot of different reasons. My hope with this event is that many of us, from all areas of Peoria, can come together and take that first step towards building relationships with others and moving towards healing whatever those hurts are.
You’d be shocked to know how many people reach out because they want to help someone who is hurting and, in the end, find out that reaching out is what healed something in themselves.
It doesn’t matter what societal problem we are trying to solve. When we stop making it “their” problem and make it “our” problem to work towards fighting together. Violence isn’t South Peoria’s problem. Violence isn’t West Bluff’s problem. Violence is our problem, a Peoria Area problem.
Let’s make some new friends and work towards solving it together.
Love is the answer to our problems… but just like peace, love is a choice.
I choose love. I choose peace.
If you love Peoria, if you love people, if you want to live in a place where there is no “us” and “them” but one big community that works to learn how to understand and support each other even when we don’t agree… the choice to make a difference starts with you.
Be a part of this event. Make some friends you never would have met without it. Learn something new. Have some fun. Listen to some fantastic live music.
Listed below are all the ways you can help this event take shape:
We need volunteers: From set-up to tear down to working on projects with children or even just walking around and getting different people talking. Whatever you skill is, we can find a job for you. Sign up here: bit.ly/peacerallyvolunteer
We need community programs: All non-political non-profit organizations who help Peoria in any way are welcome to put up a table at this event. We want to let those in need that you are available. We also want to show all of those who wish they could do something but don’t know what an idea of all the organizations they could support that will make a difference in the area. Email: email@example.com
We need donations: Neighborhood House has graciously partnered with us so that all donations are tax deductible! Donations for this can be sent via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. (All donations will be turned over to Neighborhood House who will then reimburse for expenses related to this event.)
Besides cash donations, we could use donations of FOOD, ART SUPPLIES, and GIFT CARDS FROM COMMUNITY BUSINESSES.
There are advertising incentives from Peoria Music Live and Adams Outdoor for businesses who donate to this event.
(If you are interested in helping with any of these, or would like to know the specific purpose, please email email@example.com for more information.)
But mostly, WE JUST NEED YOU! If you can’t help donate to this project, that’s okay!
Please come down to The Neighborhood House on June 23rd, from 2-8pm.
Keep yourself updated on the event by marking “interested” at: bit.ly/lovepeoriapeacerally
THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO ARE CURRENTLY PLANNING TO PARTNER WITH US:
Audio309 99.9 WWCT I’ve Decided Blue Heron Graphics & Design Adams Outdoor
Neighborhood House Association Peoria Magician’s Assembly Random Acts of Hope
Lost Art Design & Print PCCEO PCAV Vinyl Tap Peoria Rhythm Kings
Peoria Drum Circle facilitated by Natasha Greene Hire A Housewife
And more to come soon…