Bright Brand New Day is a bespoke peace building initiative for Londonderry, which aspires to provide opportunities for Catholics and Protestants to hear each other’s stories, learn to understand one another and begin to live more peacefully together.
The healing initiative also seeks to contribute to laying a better foundation for current and future generations, and it is under this umbrella that First Derry Minister, Rev Dr David Latimer, is to travel to Washington tomorrow, Thursday, with the hope of forging connections that will lead to a positive legacy for the city during 2013 and beyond.
Spealking prior to his visit, Dr Latimer said: “Few, it is true, have the greatness to bend history itself, but each person can work to change a small portion of events and in the total of these acts will be written the history of this generation. The frustration however, felt by all of us, to bring about lasting change is helpfully expressed by Edward E Hale, American author, preacher of the gospel and prophet of peace who once said, ‘I cannot do everything, but because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something I can do.’
“It is this conviction that motivates a cross community group of 12 people representing business, church, education and the voluntary sector to invite national and international speakers to address difficult and divisive issues at different venues around the city with the objective of envisioning a divided city to come together, pull together and work together for the greater good of all.
“Recent events across our country might lead many to conclude the sky is devoid of stars. Notwithstanding, out of the darkness a new world can arise. Even though we cannot see clearly how it’s going to turn out, we are still called to let the future into our imaginations. So we must remain optimistic about the future and the best way to do this is to foster hope. According to American spiritual writer and hotel owner Orisen Swett Marden, ‘there is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.’
“Accepting the need for all of us to lift up our eyes above the dangers of today so as see the hopes of tomorrow, there is an urgent requirement for some specialist assistance,” he said.
According to David, help is at hand for Londonderry residents in the shape of contact with Martin Luther King III by Dr Latimer last September in Liverpool at a Slavery Commemoration Event. With the professional involvement of the Director of the NI Office in Washington this contact has progressed to First Derry’s minister being invited to personally meet with Mr King at a specially arranged function in Washington during the period of President Obama’s Inauguration.
ML King III, son of civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jnr along with his siblings, will be in Washington for the Inauguration to witness the use of their fathers Bible for the ‘swearing in’ ceremony. Dr Latimer has been invited to join Mr and Mrs King, their senior advisor Daniel Heath and close Irish-American friend Jim Goffey for breakfast in the Wendall Hotel, which is the hotel where Dr ML King Jnr wrote his ‘I have a Dream’ speech.
“The purpose of this specially arranged breakfast meeting is to offer First Derry’s minister an opportunity to discuss my peace building Initiative for Derry-Londonderry with ML King III and to invite Mr King to be keynote speaker at a public citywide event scheduled for Sunday, May 19, which will involve hundreds of students joining Phil Coulter to sing his new city anthem, ‘A Bright Brand New Day.’ Very significantly, the World Peace Flame Monument will be unveiled and the Eternal Peace Flame will be ignited during this citywide public event. The city will be the first place in Ireland and the 15th place in the world to have a Peace Flame. In this Flame the people will have a chance to recognize the peacefulness, the power and the love that’s present somewhere inside every single one of us.
Schools and Colleges in the Council area are being invited to accept Peace Lanterns and to compose individual Peace Pledges, which will be permanently displayed around the perimeter of the Urban Park identified as the location for the World Peace Flame Monument. Derry’s Nobel Prize winning poet will be a special guest at the groundbreaking May 19 citywide and beyond public event,” he said.
As First Derry’s minister prepares to travel to Washington to meet with Mr MLKing III, he said he considered it appropriate to incorporate some words of inspiration from the pen of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr who once said: “If you can’t fly then run; if you can’t run then walk; if you cant walk then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.’
“Having braved so many dangers and having endured so much hardship there is no alternative for the people of Derry-Londonderry but to keep moving forward together towards a destination of hope, which with Almighty God’s guidance and help will be a better and a brighter place for us all,” he said.