International relay promotes peace
As a teacher and practitioner of meditation, Sri Chinmoy recognizes the power of the individual.
Born in what is now Bangladesh, Chinmoy moved to New York in 1964 on a mission to spread peace and harmony throughout different countries and cultures.
In 1967, Chinmoy started the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, an international tour where long-distance runners pass a torch in a cross-continental relay, representing the spread of unity from individual to individual.
Peace Runs continue to take place every year and over 100 countries are involved in routes across Europe and North America this summer.
The North American race started in April at the United Nations in New York with about 12 runners from eight countries.
On Monday morning, the team passed through Red Wing on their way to Winona and Rochester where they stopped at local organizations to present.
Their route will take them throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico, with each individual running two to three miles at a time until their return to New York on Aug. 15.
Throughout the journey, the runners stop at schools, clubs and organizations to spark a discussion about peace in each community.
Using activities that involve songs and skits, the hope is that Chinmoy's vision of unity will begin with each individual who sees the flaming torch.
"Our message is universal, that peace begins with me," said Arpan DeAngelo, a runner involved in the North American relay.
"We felt like if we run with a torch representing that kind of individual peace and sharing that one person at a time like a relay that we would inspire communities as we come through to express their feelings of peace."
Sarankhuu Jargan is a participant from Mongolia who said the biggest challenge in the adventure is running in the heat.
"Otherwise it's so much joy, happiness and meeting with people and passing the torch."
On the International Day of Peace in September, the foundation will put on an exhibit at the Colosseum in Rome. Over 700 pieces of art and poetry from artists around the world will be featured inside and out of the historic structure to celebrate the power of uniting different countries and cultures toward a common cause.
To find out more about the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run and the events that take place around the globe, visit www.peacerun.org.
What Sri Chinmoy wanted to start was not an international movement, but a movement within the hearts of individuals that would, in time, encompass the entire world.