On May 11, San Quentin is scheduled to hold its third Day of Peace – a day dedicated to promoting peace throughout the prison.
During the event, inmates and guests from outside of the prison gather on the Lower Yard for the day’s activities. Committee members have been in the planning stages for this year’s event for months as they work out the logistics for bringing the day to life.
San Quentin’s first Day of Peace was held in 2006. After several subsequent attempts failed, the event returned in 2012 with great success. Men filled the yard, wearing white to symbolize their commitment to peace.
“Our goal is to stem the tide of violence saturating our prisons and society,” said Richard Poma, chairman of the Day of Peace committee, which organizes the event.
Last year’s event began with prayers for peace from various religious groups, and several community leaders gave motivational talks about the importance of peace in our society. The day featured refreshments and live music from Rupa & the April Fishes. Supporters of the Day of Peace sponsored the entire event.
Inmates and free staff alike can still be seen wearing souvenir wristbands from last year’s event, showing that the positive energy created continues to flow throughout the year. “It was a lovely day,” said prisoner Jarone “J.B.” Bartee, “I actually felt a sense of peace inside prison walls.”
Prison administrators hope this year’s event will carry on the tradition of spreading peace throughout the San Quentin community. Invitations have been sent to musical artists like Carlos Santana, Michael Franti and East Coast sensations Coalition Hip-Hop.
“The fellas and I would love the opportunity to travel west to San Quentin and spread our positive message of overcoming adversity through the power of dynamic and creative style,” said Coalition Hip-Hop Manager Jason Fink.
Organizers are also seeking guest speakers from the outside community and sending invitations to mayors from the surrounding area.
The Day of Peace committee encourages everyone attending to wear their freshest white T-shirt.
To make a monetary contribution to the Day of Peace, contact Kara Urion or Jody Lewen at the Prison University Project: (415) 455-8088 ext. 1 or go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations may be sent to: Prison University Project, Note: For Day of Peace, P.O. Box 492, San Quentin, CA 94964.