Global Family Day

gfdGlobal Family Day, (One Day of Peace and Sharing) is celebrated every January 1 in the United States and around the world as a global day of peace and sharing. It is a day where individuals and families share food with friends (especially the needy), make personal pledges of nonviolence, and spread a message of peace and sharing by ringing bells or beating a drum in hopes of making society and the world a safer place to live. Global Family Day grew out of the United Nations Millennium celebration, “One Day In Peace.”

Originally supported in the United States by Linda Grover, the original idea itself is difficult to pin down because many grassroots efforts around the world had independently sprung up to target this date as a day for peace and had worked separately to prevail on local governments and the U.N. to establish such a day. These efforts included a 1996 children’s book “One Day In Peace, January 1, 2000″ by Steve Diamond and Robert Alan Silverstein, which was translated into 22 languages. As a result, nearly 140 nations were poised to respond to the November 1997 declaration of the U.N. General Assembly that the first year of the new millennium should launch an “International Decade for the Culture of Peace & Nonviolence for the Children of the World” which would be ushered in by “One Day of Peace.”

Finally, in November 1999, the U.N. issued a formal invitation for world participation. As the independent grassroots organizations around the world joined the effort, one notable outcome was a special ceremony initiated by Gerry Eitner between Israeli and Palestinian families, at a refugee camp in Nablus. Later that year, the United States Congress followed the U.N. initiative and unanimously voted to establish the first day of every year as a special time of peace and sharing. In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly established this Observance as a recurring annual event, also recommending that all Member states recognize the new holiday To date, more than 20 heads of state and many ambassadors have endorsed what has now become known as Global Family Day. Global Family Day has twice received the unanimous support of the U.S. Congres, the UN General Assembly (Resolutions, and more than 30 sitting heads of state and ambassadors representing more than two-thirds of the world’s population.

People of the United States have been urged to observe Global Family Day and One Day of Peace and Sharing by the President who issues an annual proclamation, calling upon the people of the United States to observe Global Family Day, One Day of Peace and Sharing, and for other purposes.In 2005, Dr. Milton A. Reid and Cassandra West, Chairman and President respectively of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Life Institute, were invited to the United Nations for the support of Global Family Day for the International Day of Families. On September 26, 2006, President George W. Bush issued a Presidential Proclamation for Family Day, as special request, of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Life Institute, to the White House, Faith Based Initiatives office. The organization’s mission is to unite, inform, motivate, and connect people, institutions, and governments of the world through the celebration of this day of peace and sharing every January 1 and related year-around programs.

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