On May 25, 2024, thousands of volunteers globally participated in a peace walk in their respective cities hosted by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL).   

Founded by Chairman Lee Man Hee, a Korean War veteran, HWPL is a non-governmental organization promoting world peace and war cessation through interfaith dialogues, education, and advocacy. The organization has been instrumental in initiating the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW), focusing on bridging divides and fostering a culture of peace worldwide.  

This peace walk was part of an annual global initiative organized by HWPL. Each year, on May 25, participants from various countries come together to march through the streets, symbolizing their collective commitment to peace. To participate, people from different regions register through local HWPL chapters or online platforms, gathering in designated locations to walk and advocate for the principles enshrined in the DPCW. More than a symbolic gesture, this event is a powerful expression of the commitment to these principles. As we walk shoulder to shoulder, we are not just participants but active contributors to a dialogue that bridges the divide and fosters understanding among nations, political leaders, and faith-based organizations.  

Local peace advocates gathered in Sacramento from many ethnicities, religious backgrounds, and creeds this year. The commencement speaker was Dr. Harbans Sraon, an author and scholar in Science and the Sikh religion. He spoke to a diverse crowd on the importance of peace and harmony among nations and religions. Excerpts from his speech are highlighted below:  

Editor’s note: The excerpt below has been lightly edited for clarity and conciseness.   

Dr. Harbans S. Sraon at the May 25, 2024 Peace Walk in Sacramento. Photo courtesy

“To create lasting peace, it is essential to adopt harmony and understanding among nations. It is crucial to persuade and educate the public, political leaders, and faith-based organizations about this peace process.  

Peace is not only the absence of war but the presence of justice, equality, and mutual respect. Creating a world of peace requires steadfast dedication and a resolution from all members of the world community.  

Dialogues focused on understanding each other’s points of view can solve most problems, finding what is at the heart of fundamental beliefs. Every individual, regardless of caste, creed, or background, deserves to live in a world free from fear and oppression. It is incumbent upon us to champion the rights and dignity of all people worldwide.  

In our pursuit of peace, we must also recognize the interconnectedness of our world and the importance of cooperation. We can see this in how we address major issues impacting our lives. Common challenges include climate change, poverty, and pandemics. One nation cannot tackle these issues alone.  

We can build a better future for generations to come through collective action and solidarity. Achieving peace requires more than just lofty rhetoric; it demands concrete action and genuine commitment to resolving conflict through peaceful means or negotiation. I have witnessed how this can be done through the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW), established by the organization Heavenly Culture, World Peace, and Restoration of Light (HWPL).   

Although many charter approaches have been through the UN and may be successful, diplomacy, mediation, and negotiation engagement are needed even when faced with seemingly insurmountable differences.   

Through this newly developed charter, there is a consensus on creating a comprehensive approach and concrete steps to achieve peace, such as regulating the production of arms, upholding the sovereignty of states, and promoting resolutions for peaceful disputes.   

It is not just a treaty or agreement established between the leaders of nations. Those who have agreed to sign the DPCW have acknowledged that this has created a way to strengthen international cooperation and bridge divides.   

How were leaders able to come to that realization? Establishing cooperation requires leaders willing to set aside their egos and prioritize the well-being of their people. Chairman Lee, the founder of HWPL, has emphasized the importance of finding ways to end wars, such as removing weapons of mass destruction. As a Korean War veteran, he has confronted and faced death himself, so he has put all of his efforts into not allowing wars to continue to destroy more lives.   

As we look to the future, let’s commit ourselves to the cause of peace to bridge divides, build bridges, and establish bonds of friendship and understanding across the borders to stand united. Let’s reject violence and intolerance and embrace the values of compassion, empathy, and cooperation. I request every one of us to become ambassadors for peace in our communities and work tirelessly towards world peace. Conflict can be replaced by cooperation. Fear can be supplanted by trust. Let’s make the dream of lasting peace a reality today!”

People walking over a bridge on the HWPL Peace Walk on May 25, 2024 in Sacramento. Courtesy photo

The Peace Walk may have concluded, but the journey towards lasting peace continues. Each step taken is a testament to the dedication and resolve of those who champion the rights and dignity of all individuals across the globe. As we reflect on the strides made, let us reaffirm our commitment to these ideals, recognizing that peace is forged not only through agreements but through the everyday efforts of individuals and communities united in the pursuit of justice, equality, and mutual respect. Let us continue to walk this path together, forging a legacy of peace for generations.  

Sabrina Aragon is a California native who works as an educator and volunteer with HWPL of Northern California. Growing up in Sacramento, she was aware of the prevalent crime and violence. Sabrina is passionate about creating educational and interactive opportunities to promote peace. HWPL has proven to be the most successful peace organization she has encountered, and witnessing the global change they are fostering excites her about what can be achieved together.  

Dr. Harbans S. Sraon is a well-established author and scholar of science and the Sikh religion. He has taught and conducted research in Genetics, Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology at prestigious universities in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He has participated in HWPL initiatives since 2018 and actively contributes to interfaith dialogues to promote peace across religions.  

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