Donnie Griffin honored as Peace Run comes to Edmonds

Since its founding in 1987, the Sri Chimnoy Peace Torch Run has carried its message of hope for a more peaceful world to cities and towns around the world.

Wednesday was Edmonds’ turn, as a group of runners carried the torch and message of world peace to our community. Activities began at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, where the international team of Peace Run team members held a children’s’ program for Edmonds Boys and Girls Club attendees. During the program,  they shared stories about their home countries and the message of peace, and led the children in songs and activities. This year’s team of runners hailed from as far away as New Zealand, Scotland, Germany and Ukraine.

While youth programs are an important outreach activity for the Peace Run, it is also the run’s custom to honor local citizens who personify the ideals of peace, humanity and harmony, and who has make significant contributions to the community’s well-being.

In an afternoon ceremony at Centennial Plaza, Edmonds’ Donnie Griffin was presented with the Peace Run’s Torchbearer Award. Griffin founded the Lift Every Voice Legacy, which since 2019 has sponsored an annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day program in Edmonds. He joins past recipients including Pope Francis, Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa and scores of others around the world who have advanced the cause of peace.

“Since its founding in 1987 , we’ve taken the Peace Run to more than 160 countries and brought our message to more than 7 million people,” said team leader Harita Davies who hails from New Zealand. “We’ve run the distance from Earth to the moon and back, met folks from countless walks of life, and all along the way shared the simple message that peace is within each of us. There is more that unites us than divides us.”

Team leader Harita Davies welcomed attendees.

Davies’ remarks were followed by songs carrying the message of peace and harmony, after which local group organizer and Edmonds resident Aparajita Fishman introduced Donnie Griffin for the award presentation.

Citing Griffin’s lifetime of work in the service of others and his passion for creating a better world through inspiring those around him, Fishman described Griffin as one who has “practiced peace and love in this community through words, actions and kindness.”

“I am humbled and honored by this award – really more humbled than honored,” Griffin said.  “My heart has been heavy over what has been happening lately in our world and nation.  Some might despair that there is a deficit of peace and harmony.  But I disagree – I believe that there’s just not enough of us at the table.  I’m reflective of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who observed that true peace is not just the absence of tension, but the presence of justice.”

Edmonds resident Mike Rosen, right, a friend of both Griffin and Fishman, also received a medal in recognition of his help and support of the event.

Also offering remarks were Edmonds City Council President Vivian Olson and Edmonds resident and Planning Board member Mike Rosen, a friend of both Griffin and Fishman.

“Donnie, what you do to my heart,” Rosen said.  “I know of no one else who better personifies peace and justice, gives hope, and sets a high path.”

Members of the Peace Run team wave to the camera.

Olson thanked the group for traveling to Edmonds and spreading the message.

“What you do is wonderful,” she said. “I’m so grateful that you cared enough to be with us.”

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

  1. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor than Donnie. He’s an amazing man with a long history of thoughtful, brave, and energetic work promoting peace and human understanding. I learned so much from him in our time on the Diversity Commission together.

  2. I think Donnie Griffin is prince among men. He defended me as he knew the truth once of my intentions and he said so right on FB here. I will always remember that Donnie. You are so deserving of all that comes your way. I am glad and I Congratulate you for be honored at the Peace walk. You brought peace for me out of the kindness of your heart. XO Deborah Arthur. Let me know if I can ever do anything for you. I will.

  3. I thought of quoting exactly what Brian Potter said because those words represent my time with Donnie. And I would add that in a conversation with Donnie, a person feels listened to and respected……which lays the platform to hear his thoughtful, heartfelt ideas. Congratulations, Donnie!!!!

  4. I am grateful to the Sri Chimnoy Peace Torch Run team for this unexpected recognition and high honor. But I am most thankful to my passionate friends, allies and accomplices who walk along with me on this path to inspire a Beloved Community – free of hatred, injustice and poverty.
    Appreciate all y’all!

  5. Congratulations, Donnie! You are an inspiration and a model for peace and justice! Thanks for bringing hope to your community and the world.

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