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Downtown lights to turn blue for peace

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Starting Friday, Chicago’s downtown buildings will be basked in blue to symbolize peace during the week that includes Martin Luther King Day to honor the slain civil rights leader’s powerful message of non-violence, Mayor Daley said Wednesday.

The blue-light campaign, which runs Friday through Jan. 21, is the brainchild of the Rev. Michael Pfleger, the South Side activist-priest who has crusaded against the violence that has claimed the lives of so many of the city’s youth.

“We don’t want Dr. King’s holiday to become just another holiday off of work or school,’’ Pfleger said at a City Hall news conference. “Let’s use it for something constructive. Let’s have conversations in our homes, in our schools. . . . Maybe the blue will cause us as a city to say, ‘Let’s talk about peace.’. . . I’m just asking all Chicagoans to . . . be a peacemaker in your home, in your schools, in your blocks and your conversations with one another. Discuss ways this week to teach conflict resolution.”

Why blue?

“When we talked to a number of peace organizations around the country, blue was the color that was most used. So, we went with that,” Pfleger said.

Daley said Chicago will be the first major city to bathe its buildings in blue to carry the message of non-violence. But he hopes we’re not the last.

“It just reminds ourselves that America is killing our own at a faster rate than the rest of the world. . . . America has to get back to taking responsibility for what is taking place in America. We can’t lecture the rest of the world about what we’re doing to our own,” he said.

“This is a wonderful reminder for a whole week and appropriate during the Martin Luther King celebrations. It brings back how important peace and non-violence was to his life, even though people inflicted violence against him his entire life. . . . We have to end this. We have to end this whole commitment of how all discussions have to be ended with a gun.”

Pam Bosley’s 18-year-old son was gunned down outside a Far South Side church on April 4, 2006, 38 years to the day after King’s assassination.

Terrell Bosley was a popular church musician who was loading musical equipment into a car.

“This world has become desensitized to the everyday killing. So, we’re hoping that lighting up the downtown buildings with the blue that symbolizes peace will bring awareness — not just for Chicago, but the entire world to stop the violence and stop the killing,” Pam Bosley said.

Robert Six, president of the Building Owners and Managers Association, predicted that upwards of 25 percent of his 260 members — 65 buildings — would light up in blue at their own expense.

“BOMA Chicago has long supported lighting initiatives for worthy causes. BOMA Chicago is honored and very proud to support this lighting initiative for this most worthy of causes,” Six said.

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