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Kindling the World Peace Flame in Ashland

A folk-rock concert at the Ashland Unitarian Fellowship tonight, Wednesday, will benefit the World Peace Flame, to be installed in a major ceremony Sept. 21 at the Thalden Pavilion on the Southern Oregon University campus.

Presented by the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, the concert features a wide range of area performers — Confluence, Cornflower, Hollis Peach, Alice DiMicele, Vince Herman, Crystal Reeves and Emily Turner. It’s $20 to $30 and opens at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the Music Coop in Ashland.

A month from now, on Aug. 18, a similar “peace jam” at the Historic Ashland Armory will also raise funds for the Peace Flame Project, which seeks to raise about $28,000. It will go toward modification of the obelisk at the Pavilion, shipping the oil lamp and flying a delegation here from The Netherlands. The lamp will perpetually burn recycled biomass oil. The original Peace Flame Monument was lit in 2002 outside the Peace Palace, home of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. Many more have been lit around the world; the first in the U.S. is at the National Civil Rights Museum, site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.

A delegation the World Peace Flame Foundation, led by Savitri MacCuish, will fly here to light the flame, which will be only the second in the United States. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is invited to preside.

MacCuish, director of the World Peace Flame Foundation, is a “global ambassador of peace and author who trains people around the world in authentic leadership and management skills,” says her bio. She also works in war-zone de-traumatization.

Brent Kenyon, a consultant and fundraiser in the area cannabis industry, says, “These are some of the favorite bands in the area and they are ready to get up on stage and collaborate and find reasons to love each other instead of the opposition we see every day in our society.

“We see and support young people on the street and less fortunate around us and are getting out the message that we are pulling together in this stellar music event. It’s something you can’t get anywhere else. We’ll be seeing world-class music, more diverse than you usually see at the Armory. They are donating their time and we’re trying to pack the place.”

Kenyon, a Medford businessman, organized the Jefferson State Hemp Expo, a three-day cultural and music festival for eight years.

“The flame is a statement of our values, of our unity in the movement toward peace for all people,” said Ashland Culture of Peace Commission Executive Director David Wick. “The flame will also serve as a beacon for this gathering point, bringing people together here for causes of peace.”

“It also inspires us to practice peace,” said his partner, Irene Kai, “if the flame is live here, perpetually reminding us that peace is not just an idea or a word — it’s an action we practice every day, coming from our hearts every day. That is how we uplift ourselves and the community.”

Donations to the peace flame and commission may be made at ashlandcpc.org or gofundme/worldpeaceflameashland.

John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

Photo by Caroline SchroderThe world Peace Flame in the Netherlands.{ }