Southfield to dedicate Peace Poles promoting global peace

City also hosting ‘Remember Them’ memorial for victims of racial violence

By: Andy Kozlowski | Southfield Sun | Published October 26, 2022

 The Peace Poles, at Southfield’s municipal campus, are the latest art installation to grace the city. A dedication will follow in early November.

The Peace Poles, at Southfield’s municipal campus, are the latest art installation to grace the city. A dedication will follow in early November.

Photo provided by Michael Manion


SOUTHFIELD — Three wooden poles stand in the front circle drive at Southfield City Hall, coated with a white weather-resistant lacquer and emblazoned with the phrase “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” written in 24 languages from around the world.

The aptly named Peace Poles are the latest art installation in Southfield, and the city will hold a dedication ceremony for them at 11 a.m. Nov. 6 at the municipal campus at 26000 Evergreen Road.

City officials will be at the ceremony, which will include an invocation by Rev. Dr. Carlyle Fielding Stewart III of Empowerment Church, as well as a musical performance of “Peace on Earth” performed by Jay Reid, and a benediction by Rabbi Aaron Starr of Congregation Shaarey Zedek.

The installation is part of a larger initiative by a nonprofit organization called May Peace Prevail on Earth International. Volunteers with the group lead grassroots efforts to plant “Peace Monuments,” such as the Peace Poles, in communities around the world. The group sees its namesake mantra — “May Peace Prevail on Earth” — as a sort of universal prayer that crosses boundaries between different cultures and religions.

“Now more than ever before, we must all come together in a spirit of peace, love, mutual respect and understanding. In Southfield, we value every person from every culture, religion, race and background, and these new Peace Poles exemplify that in a way that I hope resonates with every resident and visitor,” said Southfield City Council President Lloyd Crews, in a statement. “It is our collective prayer for peace not only in Southfield, but throughout the entire world.”

Separately, the city is hosting another monument that promotes a message of peace.

The “Remember Them” installation, originally by St. David’s Episcopal Church, is currently installed at the Southfield Public Library, also at the municipal campus. Featuring headstones with the names of famous victims of racial violence — such as George Floyd, Medgar Evers, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor — as well as lesser-known ones, the monument invites viewers to reflect on societal injustice and what can be done to correct it.

The memorial also includes a 100-page book, published for the occasion, with one page dedicated to each victim’s story, copies of which are available to view at the library and the parks and recreation building. The installation will remain open every day, from dawn to dusk, until Nov. 23.   

Fr. Chris Yaw, of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Southfield, said in an email that the idea came about shortly after the killing of George Floyd, and a similar exhibit in Minnesota.

“There is a very big difference between reading about a death, and then seeing a headstone among others who met similar fates,” Yaw said. “We hope the community will more seriously contemplate the systemic racism in our nation, our inability to address our racial inequalities, and the ways we may be called to take action, and do more to facilitate racial justice.”

Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver said in a statement that the monument is a somber reminder that more work needs to be done to achieve true justice for all.

“Too many African Americans have suffered for too long. We cannot stand by in silence as people of color continue to suffer under unjust systems of justice, economics, education and housing,” Siver stated. “While we are very thankful that these heinous acts have not been committed in Southfield, this interactive installation is designed to remind us of the injustices of the past, while inspiring collective action to bring racial equality to our nation.”