Father Tom Bonacci was the Keynote Speaker at the “Peace Through Understanding” Forum held on March 7, 2013, at the Laguna High School in Elk Grove California. The forum was sponsored by the Club of Laguna Sunrise Rotary Club. The other panelists included: Elk Grove mayor, Gary Davis, Elk Grove Police Chief Robert Lehner, Elk Grove Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Steven Ladd, Steve Lapan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Elk Grove Multicurltural Committee Chair Orlando Fuentes, Elk Grove Youth Commission Chair Matthew Banicki
Father Tom stated, “Whenever you talk about people standing together across the boundaries that divide us there will be a point of upset and disturbance. …There can be no world peace without religious peace…and there can’t be religious peace until people start confronting the stereotypes, views, and prejudices that they have.”
Laguna Creek High School student, Emily Jones, focused on how the mission of peace starts within the self and moves on by serving others.
Mayor Davis noted the city’s community service projects encourage neighbors to get to know one another and work together.
The Elk Grove Unified School District has established programs including random acts of kindness and an anti-cyberbullying campaign called #UnfollowBullying established and led by the district’s students.
Elk Grove Multicultural Committee Chair Orlando Fuentes spoke of the Elk Grove Diversity Pledge in which residents pledge to support the community’s cultural diversity and the Multi-cultural Festival coming up on August 24.
Elk Grove Youth Commission Chair Matthew Banicki stated that he is “a strong believer that peace is spread through action. Peace….will really come through our actions, which speak a lot louder than our words.”
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