The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, ( peacerun.org ) an international torch relay inspired by visionary Sri Chinmoy, visited Kingston Middle School students May 16.
The international team from six countries is on a two-month journey throughout the U.S. to share a message that peace begins with the individual. Along their Northwest route they met with students, schools, youth organizations and groups to offer educational presentations that promote respect of others and the oneness of humanity.
After four years, the Peace Run team visited Kingston Middle School again to share their message with students during a school-wide Zoom call and then ran the Peace Torch through the halls lined with cheering students.
For one runner, Oleg ‘Stusheel’ Lebedev from Kyiv, Ukraine, spreading the message of peace has been a life-long endeavor.
In 1997, Lebedev coordinated the first Peace Run from Kyiv to the border of Slovakia and Hungary. This year, Lebedev fled war-torn Ukraine with his wife and daughter to Slovakia where they are staying until they can join him in New York. For now, he is running for peace across America.
While speaking with the middle school students, Lebedev shared a simple message, “Peace begins with me,” a mantra he’s been living for 25 years.
As Lebedev adjusts to life in the United States, running has been helping. The first week of May he ran in Florida, last week he was in San Diego and this week he’s running around the Seattle area. “I tell you, when I came here, I thought I was normal. But, then my friends said, ‘You just need to relax, just, let it go.’ And after one month, I can smile. I can breathe normally, but it’s been a lot.”