Celebration, Unity, and Hope: A Joyous Advocacy for Global Peace and Ceasefire in Gaza

[The cosponsoring organizations had organized half day yoga and meditation gathering on January 13, 2024 at Brooklyn Heights so that come together for an end to the current conflict in the Middle East. With the death of almost 1,200 Israelis and more than 22,000 Palestinians, and near famine conditions in Gaza, our hearts cannot endure more bombing. The first necessary step to any long-term solution to the conflict is a complete and permanent ceasefire]

Rohan Narine

The Notorious B.I.G. said it best, “Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way.” Confidently, as the space filled, I can confirm that with everyone spreading love in excess from the start, it is indeed the Brooklyn way. As the Sri Ram Janmabhumi approaches while there is increasing tension between Israel and Gaza, it is paramount that we recognize and confront our violent pasts and pray for a ceasefire in Gaza immediately.

Yoga for Ceasefire - 2To our brothers and sisters in Palestine, we who met at the First Unitarian Church focused our minds on the disunion of the body from pain. We focused on breathing in our hatred, our anger, our natural insecurities, holding it, and releasing it out allowing those feelings to become extinct from our minds eye. This is our life’s journey.  In a Ras Garba dance, everyone chanted, “Ceasefire now” four times, beginning the clarion call that combined with the boundless love commenced a chant filling the space with an ancestral energy that we pray our brothers and sisters in Gaza can feel through these mere words.

Yoga for Ceasefire - 3During moments of deep silence, stillness, and oneness, we prayed for an end to violence, to war, and to returning to a world where we all treat each other as one large family. As we strive to envision a real world where these events will never have to be held, we invite you to come as you are, to be your truest self, and to help us grow.

In a vibrant confluence of joy and community spirit, we gathered to amplify the call for global peace, with a heartfelt plea for a ceasefire in Gaza. The day was marked by an outpouring of solidarity, led by our Executive Director, Sunita Viswanath, and the inspiring Garnett Losak, Director of Life at the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn. Their leadership and welcome set the tone for a space where celebration, practice and advocacy merged into a powerful force for change.

Yoga for Ceasefire - 4A rich tapestry of diverse practices was shared, each centered on the unwavering goal of peace. The energy in the room was palpable, as practitioners from various backgrounds led sessions that resonated with the theme of harmony and understanding.

One true gift on the day was Pratima Kushmani Shridevi Doobay, a Ceremonial Priestess, sacred artist, and Human Rights Activist from Shridevi Arts. Her voice, presence and guidance brought a profound sense of purpose and connection to the gathering.

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The day was further energized by the creative genius of Parijat Desai, an acclaimed choreographer, who reimagined and refashioned Garba and Dandiya Ras into movements that transformed traditional dance into a unifying force for communities working tirelessly for social justice.

Yoga for Ceasefire - 5Adding to the rhythmic heartbeat of the event was KIirtan with Zander of the BROOKLYN KIRTAN COLLECTIVE. The collective’s soul-stirring melodies and chants provided a sonic backdrop that uplifted spirits and strengthened the communal bond.

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This was a day where every smile, every dance step, and every note of music echoed the underlying commitment to human rights and dignity. It was a day where we not only envisioned a world of peace but actively participated in its creation through the joyous power of community and shared aspirations.


Courtesy: Hindus for Human Rights (Received through email) 


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