If you grew up in the ’60s or ’70s, you’ll be very familiar with the phrase, “Give Peace a Chance.” Even if you’re a tad younger, chances are you’ve heard the phrase or even the famous song written by John Lennon while he was still one of the Beatles. The words became an anthem for anti-Vietnam War protesters, but this year the phrase has been revived as the theme of the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan‘s (DRCWM) second annual fundraiser celebrating International Conflict Resolution Day.
The “Give Peace a Chance” event is slated for Thursday, October 15 from 7-9 pm at the B.O.B.-EVE, 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Rapids, MI 49503. Tickets are $35. The Main Street Dueling Pianos will provide a flashback to freer times with ’60s music, and you’ll want to dress to match the theme for extra fun. Two local peacemakers–Judge William Kelly and Peter Letzmann–will be honored at the event for their outstanding service to the community.
If you’re not involved in a lawsuit or major conflict at the moment, you may not see the relevance to your life. However, perhaps it’s time to ponder another old saying, “Into each life a few (or many) raindrops fall,” which has nothing to do with the weather. Rather, the phrase is our cultural shorthand for a simple fact: No one escapes conflicts in life. The question we all ask ourselves at some point is, “How do I deal with it?”
Chris Gilman, the nonprofit’s Executive Director, says, “Conflict is unavoidable, but we can use it as an opportunity for growth.”
Every year about a thousand people experiencing conflict visit the DRCWM. They sit down with a trained mediator and talk about the problem(s) they face. They don’t just talk, they also listen. Then they create a solution that works for the parties involved, whether the conflicts involve marriage, divorce, employment, a neighbor, or just about anything else. The DRCWM reaches out to a seven-county area, providing low- or no-cost mediation services to people of modest means. Some cases are referred to the center by the court.
The process is cheaper than hiring an attorney, because you do the work yourself; but this is one DIY project where a trained coach is vital, and that takes money; the investment in creating peace is significant. So rummage around for your old fur vest, rose-tinted glasses, love beads, and maybe old army fatigues. Hang out at the B.O.B., practice your peace sign and “Give Peace a Chance.” It’s hip to feel groovy.
For more information, visit the DRCWM’s website or call 616.774.0121.