by Gainesville Veterans for Peace
On Saturday, May 16, Veterans for Peace will post videos of Alachua County school student poets reading their winning poems from the 2020 Peace Poetry Contest at the Veterans for Peace, Chapter 14 website <http://www.vfpgainesville.org/> and Facebook page. Three Veterans for Peace Scholarship winners will also be announced.
The eleventh annual Peace Poetry Contest began in January, inviting all K-12 students of Alachua County schools, both public and private, to submit one poem on what peace and social justice means to them. A panel judged the over 200 poems submitted, according to age group.
Because of the Shelter-In-Place regulations, we are especially grateful for the students and teachers who still felt inspired to submit Peace Poems under trying circumstances and distance learning.
Every year VFP notices a theme that runs through many of the poems. The last two years many students focused on safety in the classroom and trauma associated with the fear of being shot at school. The past few years including this year, there have been many environmental and climate change poems submitted.
The new theme this year addressed Covid-19 and the belief that being a good citizen meant observing the Shelter-In-Place regulations. We were encouraged by the maturity expressed in these poems and of course blown away by the beauty of all of the poems submitted.
The 2020 Peace Poetry book will also be posted on our website.
Veterans for Peace will also be announcing the awarding of three $1000 Peace Scholarships. VFP created these scholarships to give financial support to students who are planning careers in pursuit of a more equitable, peaceful, and just world. The three selected winners have demonstrated commitment and leadership activities involving peace and social justice, conflict resolution and nonviolent social change.
This event will also include music sung by Alivia Regan Hunter, a 17-year-old singer/songwriter from the 2019 Peace Poetry Reading.