By Kyle V., a SJSU Spring 2020 intern
What does a normal Friday look like? Is it going out with friends and family or is it a relaxing night in, taking time to decompress from the work week? For some special individuals a Friday evening means standing on a street corner advocating peace. I recently attended a Vigil for Peace outside of the Dr. Martin Luther King Library. The vigil has been held there every Friday from 5-6pm for the last 19 years. The San José Friday Peace Vigil stands against the unending war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and throughout the world.
The San José Friday Peace Vigil represents an amazing cause. The dedication of those who organize the event and have kept it going for the last 19 years speaks volumes to the ideology behind the vigil. This dedication and commitment shown by the individuals who host and attend the event every Friday is inspiring, and gives hope to those in the local community and those affected by war worldwide. As stated by the Vigil, “The world is going in the wrong direction.” The world is in a turbulent time and we must as a people stand for peace.
The vigil I attended was extremely powerful and much more pleasant than I had expected. Prior to this experience I had never expected to partake in such an event. I never thought I would be caught standing at a street corner holding a sign calling for peace. I was afraid of the judgement and possible ridicule from my peers if I was seen at the event. This judgement I was so afraid of, however, was the very thing holding me from new possibilities and exciting opportunities. Letting go and having fun by supporting an amazing cause with remarkable people turned out to be one of the more delightful experiences I have had in recent time. We stood for an hour holding signs that read “Honk for Peace,” “Stop the Unending War,” and “No War in Iran.” We counted honks and rejoiced for every beep and acknowledgment we received. There was a certain irony with the joy expressed from a sound that is so connected to the hustle and bustle of a busy city like San José. For that hour I felt like I was a part of something greater, I felt like an active member of my community.
Connectedness is a rare powerful feeling that many have not had the pleasure of experiencing. The Friday Peace Vigil is a perfect opportunity for getting out and linking with fellow community activists. If you are reading this, I encourage you to go to a vigil and make connections and experience this event for yourself.
For more opportunities to get involved with your community, check out the SJPJC Community Calendar: sanjosepeace.org/calendar.