On Saturday, October 2, 2021, approximately 200 people of all ages and abilities attended “Celebrating Sumter County’s Multigenerational Mosaic of Gifts” at Lenny’s Market in Americus. Jeni Stepanek (Mama Peace) explained the theme, “We are a mosaic of gifts – all we have to do is choose to just show up with purpose for peace. It is ok to get angry, it is ok to be sad, it is ok to be frustrated. It is not ok to be mean, to be unkind, to bully other people, or to turn a blind eye to a neighbor in need”. On behalf of the Mayor and City Council, Mayor Barry Blount proclaimed Mattie Stepanek’s birthday of Friday, July 17, 2021, as PEACE DAY in the city of Americus and called upon the people of Americus to join in the observance celebration held today. 

Attendees learned more about Mattie and his legacy of peace, and participated in peace seeking, peace making, and peace bringing activities. They met and talked with city leaders and those who are campaigning for public office about building #UnityInCommunity. The 2020-2021 community mosaic was unveiled, and work began on the 2021-2022 mosaic.  Peace was celebrated as Rob and Cate Bailey, the Low Flying Angels, the SOWEGA Circle of Peace drummers, and Mama Peace herself shared their Heartsong gifts through performance. Peace dove Penelope, provided by Stone River Spa, was on hand for photo ops throughout the day.

Albany teen Preet Jani was awarded Peace Certification for his fundraising efforts to assist with the provision of basic medical needs for COVID patients in India. Gayla Braziel shared about the Sister City Program between Americus and Miyoshi, Japan, “It’s simply a partnership between two cities from two countries across the globe who are fostering a friendship together in an effort towards a better future.”

Six community organizations were on hand to share information about their services: Jayden’s Hidden Treasures, The Social Exchange, New Life Recovery Support Center, Koinonia Farm, Beautiful Minds Clubhouse, and the Perry Wellness Center. Foundation Executive Director Laura Bauer stated, “We are truly blessed to have a mosaic of services here in Sumter County that help individuals and families dealing with life challenges. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not of weakness, and we want community members to know what’s available to help them achieve peace.”

The event ended with a Peace Walk to Taraji, where the ribbon cutting for the Foundation’s new offices and the Peace Messages ceremony took place. Linda Fuller Degelmann, co-founder of Habitat for Humanity was moved to say, “This is an emotional time for me. This was the first official headquarters building for Habitat for Humanity. A lot of history is here…I couldn’t feel happier that the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation is here now.”

Peace Day highlight reel

#MakePeaceTheNews   #JustShowup   #WithPurpose