Who is My Neighbor? seeks to unify

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural modern-day peace event, organizers Leslie Kirchoff, Janice Boboltz and several other volunteers are gearing up for the 2018 version of Who Is My Neighbor?

The event, billed for the “young and young at heart,” will take place Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the APlex. It will feature a wide variety of free activities, many of them related to the arts.

Kirchoff and Boboltz started Who Is My Neighbor? after becoming deeply concerned over the politically-charged negativity and uncivil behavior they witnessed going on in the world around them. By offering the event, both said they hoped to foster a greater appreciation for all of humanity and for all people’s differences.

“Humanity is what unites us,” Boboltz said. “We might not always agree, but we can peacefully agree to disagree and learn to talk to one another peacefully.”

In addition to music, dance, storytelling, crafts, yoga, tai chi and many other activities, there will be a number of display tables featuring information about ongoing projects and the culture of various countries, including Peru, Liberia, Africa and Cambodia.

“We have limited diversity in our community,” Boboltz said. “Part of our reason for doing this is to give us pause to think about a wider vision of the world and that we are all united.”

“The wider vision of the world can easily be seen at the display tables,” added Kirchoff.

Their mission for Who Is My Neighbor? focuses on celebrating the oneness of humanity through the diversity of the arts and other varied talents. Toward that end, they tried to tie all the activities offered around the mission.

Participants will be invited to paint rocks with a peaceful message and then later leave them out in the community for others to find. They also can add their own creative touch to a large peace mural.

Last year an estimated 300 people attended Who Is My Neighbor? Organizers are expecting a good crowd again this year and have arranged for a free lunch of pizza donated by numerous local pizzerias, salad, cookies and water. Girl Scouts from St. Paul Lutheran Church will help to serve the lunch that will be available until all the food is gone.

Boboltz and Kirchoff said the overall event would not come off without many volunteers and the generosity of the community.

“I would have to say this is a very giving community,” said Kirchoff. “They are always willing to give back.”

Kirchoff also said the idea of peace needs to start in small communities like Alpena.

“We would love to have kids come with families and begin conversations over lunch and throughout the afternoon,” she said.

The schedule of activities for Saturday includes:

∫ 11:30-noon – Welcome and opening remarks, TBT Artistic Director Jeffrey Mindock

∫ Noon-1 p.m. – Free lunch and music by TBT Music Director David Delano

∫ 1-1:30 p.m. – Programming by Elijah Baker, WBKB-TV

∫ 1:30-2 p.m. – Original piece performed by The Dance Centre

∫ 2-2:30 p.m. – NOAA student film winner Jack MacDonald

∫ 2-2:30 p.m. – Music by PAX with Eric Dunckel & Casey Makala

∫ 3:30-4 p.m. – Dramatization by AHS Masquers Club

∫ 4-4:30 p.m. – Drumming Circle

Activities will be held both outdoors and on the upper level of the APlex. Participants are invited to stop by at any point between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.