In celebration of 11 Days of Global Unity, a time during which all are enjoined to work for worldwide peace, KHOI 89.1 FM will be broadcasting a series of 11 programs. Starting Sept. 11, KHOI will air the programs at 8 a.m., 1 p.m and 8 p.m on each of the 11 days. The programs will call listeners to serve, respect and learn from others. All programs will be produced by the central Iowa chapter of 11 Days of Global Unity.
Though the event has been celebrated since 2004, Heather Withers, an Ames resident and ordained minister of the Unity Church, first committed herself to it in 2008, when she learned about it through her ministry.
The event’s 11 days begin Sept. 11. Though more than a decade has passed since planes struck the two towers of the World Trade Center, Withers still recalls the global fear those strikes evoked.
“We are surrounded by violence, war, negativity,” she said
Withers sees the event as a chance to promote all efforts to resist those forces.
She said that every year, Global Unity events are covered by local publications such as the Ames Tribune and the Iowa State Daily. This year will be the first to involve KHOI, which will broadcast one program on each of the event’s 11 days.
Withers added that event organizers have focused on a different theme each year. This year’s theme has three emphases: “Peace—Plan it,” “Peace—Plant it,” and “Peace Planet.”
Readers for the KHOI programs will make these emphases by integrating them into the pieces they prepare for broadcast.
Among this year’s readers will be the poet Linda Voit, City of Ames Planner and Neighborhood Liason Jeff Benson, Rasur Foundation International Director Rita Marie Johnson, National Peace Academy Director Dot Maver, Iowa Poetry Foundation President Dennis Maulsby, and Friends of International Women Co-Chair Andrea Hill. (See calendar for complete program listings.)
Sept. 21, the final day of the event, will coincide with the International Day of Peace, which has been celebrated annually since 1982. Also known as Peace Day, this event is recognized and supported by the United Nations.
Lynne Carey, interim director of the Ames Public Library, said the event symbolizes a global movement “from despair to hope.”
In years past, 11 Days of Global Unity organizers have donated physical symbols of their hope, which they call “peace poles.” The 6-foot tall poles have four sides, each inscribed with the words “may peace prevail on Earth.” These words are traditionally rendered in four different languages.
Today, two stand in downtown Ames: one on the grounds of the Ames Public Library and another on the grounds of Ames City Hall. The group’s third pole stands five miles away from Ames, on a Hubbard acreage known as Soul of the Prairie.
The group will donate a fourth pole on Wednesday, Sept. 15. It will be erected at 11 a.m. at Wheatsfield Cooperative. This particular pole will bear script in English, Chinese, Spanish and Lakota.
Lynne Carey acknowledges that the goal of global peace has little hope of being reached in her lifetime, but she still thinks it essential that people work toward it.
“We don’t believe we’ll ever arrive, but we can still further our way on this journey together.”
Update (5:02 p.m.):
KHOI volunteer Kay Puttock reports via email that a Global Unity Concert will be held Sept. 15 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames (located on 1015 North Hyland Avenue). Running from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the event will feature Ladysoal, Nate Logsdon, Gatehouse Saints and Colt Walkers. Other musicians set to play are Josh and Kristin Putney of Diamonds for Eyes.
Jay Parry, Megan Blair and Claire Kreusel, all members of the Ames Poetry Revival, will recite poems at the event
Abdul Muhammad, who recently performed in Kansas City, will be featured as the event's special guest.
Activist Lois Smidt will emcee the entire proceedings.
Update (5:20 p.m.):
Mackenzie Dierks of KURE 88.5 FM—the student-run station that broadcasts from the campus of Iowa State University—reports via email that KURE will broadcast all the content produced by the Ames chapter of 11 Days of Global Unity.
She writes that the broadcasts will take place "around 11 a.m" on each of the 11 days of the event.