Local residents Jen Brady Cotter and John Baum launched the Patchogue Peace Project in 2020 to “initiate and support educational advocacy and collaborative efforts that foster a culture of peace in the community.”
Earlier this week, the community was officially awarded as the first International City of Peace on Long Island. Over the past six months, project liaison Brady Cotter and peacemaker Baum worked with community partners, developing a long-term vision for peacemaking in the community, receiving a proclamation from the village declaring support for their efforts, and creating a document describing the legacy of peacebuilding in Patchogue.
“We have always been a welcoming community; therefore, the idea of being a village of peace is great for a community that believes in peaceful relationships for all of the members of our visitors, residents and passersby,” Patchogue mayor Paul Pontieri said.
Patchogue’s legacy of peace evolved into an inspiring tribute to the community’s long history of collaboration among residents, institutions, schools, local governments, businesses, and organizations that revealed the dedication and commitment to creating an enduring culture of peace. Patchogue has worked to increase the safety, prosperity, and quality of life for all its residents, through several peace pole installations, proclamations, art installations and vigils.
Their project also reflects on the many ways Patchogue has united to reject hate. Some examples include how the community came together after the hate crime killing of Marcelo Lucero. It describes how in the aftermath of the tragedy, anniversary vigils took place across Patchogue, the Play for Peace soccer tournament was launched, and local residents worked together not only to heal, but to build bridges within the community.
The report also spotlights how so many local institutions serve as the cornerstones for peacebuilding, spotlighting the Patchogue- Medford Library, Patchogue-Medford Youth & Community Services, and SEPA Mujer.
“Of course, the story would not be complete without acknowledging the tremendous role the arts have played in bringing the community together,” said chairperson for the Patchogue Peace Project, Brady Cotter. “The work of several groups is highlighted, such as the Patchogue Arts Council for its continuous commitment to building empathy and understanding through multicultural exhibits and programs.”
Brady Cotter has been actively engaged in violence prevention, community building, and other peacemaking efforts for the past 25 years. She cofounded National Youth Violence Prevention Week, a campaign now adopted by Sandy Hook Promise; partnered with Herstory Writers Workshop to host a social justice memoir-writing workshop; and is an active member of Building Bridges in Brookhaven, among others.
She said she was thrilled when lifelong peacemaker John Baum reached out to her to work on Patchogue becoming an International City of Peace. Baum had already been working with Pax Christi and the Rotary on a mission to bring over 100 peace poles to Long Island. With partners jumping in from the library, chamber of commerce, PMYCS, St. Joseph’s College, and several organizations, the project took off.
“In a time with so much division, this is a wonderful example of what can happen when we come together,” Brady Cotter said. “With this designation, the village has joined a network of 330 other cities across the globe dedicated to building a culture of peace. While we are honored to achieve it, it is also our goal to use this as an opportunity to initiate and support ongoing efforts to put peace into action. Upcoming events include community conversations to identify our shared values, as well as programs to teach conflict management, compassionate communication, and other peacebuilding skills.”
Brady Cotter encourages anyone interested in being part of the effort to jump in. For more information and to connect with the Patchogue Peace Project email email@example.com.
What is an International City of Peace?
According to the International Cities of Peace website: International Cities of Peace is an association of citizens, governments and organizations who have by proclamation, resolution, or by citizen advocacy established their communities as official Cities of Peace. Every community has a legacy of peace, whether it is by a historical event or by a local peace heroes or groups who have contributed to their citizen’s safety, prosperity and quality of life.
No city is 100 percent a city of peace; rather, all are on the path to “becoming” a more peaceful city. Establishing a community as a peace city recognizes past achievements, encourages current initiatives, and inspires future generations for practical peace building.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here