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In 2002, when I was invited to Japan to peace at a peace conference, I met a survivor of World War II, Mrs. Iga, who told me she used to go to a peace lantern ceremony every August, but now her health doesn't always allow her to. I told her I'd attend one on her behalf each year, and the Bay Area Peace Lantern Ceremony was born.

For the 14th year, people of all ages will gather on Aug. 8, 2015 to remember the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and all victims of war, and to decorate lantern shades expressing our visions for a peaceful future. The event has become a local institution, and is even written up in travel guidebooks.

This year, however, it has taken off like never before, with 10,000 people saying they plan to attend! The organizers of this event are a small band of volunteers, with no large organization behind us. We are scrambling to accommodate all the fresh interest in our peace-building event.

We need your support to provide resources for a fulfilling and safe experience for thousands of people. A good first experience for these people (many of whom are young, new peace activists) will help inspire participants to keep working toward a more peaceful future. — Steve Freedkin, founder, Peace Lantern Ceremony

In the next several days we must reserve and pay for:

  • A larger sound system so participants can hear the program and important announcements
  • Signs to direct the crowds
  • Dozens more tables and chairs, along with supplies for making and decorating lantern shades
  • Portable restrooms, lighting, and other safety/comfort accommodations
  • Numerous other materials and supplies

Some of our volunteers are lending money out of their own pockets to get us started, but we can't afford to cover all the increased costs of hosting so many people on such short notice. (The RSVP's started flooding in just a couple of weeks ago.

Your contribution will help make all this possible. In addition:

  • Donations of $125 and up entitle you to be a sponsor of one of the lantern-decorating tables. We'll purchase a table and prominently display that it was made possible by you.
  • Donations of $50 and up entitle you to be listed on our Web site as a sponsor of the event (yourself or your business/organization).
  • For a donation of $30 and up, we can send you a beautiful Peace Lantern Ceremony tee-shirt.
  • For a donation of $20 and up we can send you a package of four lovely Peace Lantern Ceremony notecards.

If we are able to meet the challenge and — with your help — make this year's event a success, the groundwork will be laid for a much larger annual event that is designed to funnel thousands of new activists into projects to help eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all and build a more peaceful future.

In addition to financial contributions, we also need volunteers — before, during, and after the event — and donations or loans of supplies (tables, chairs, sound system, lighting, art supplies, etc.). For more information on these needs,

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