“A Peace of my Mind” exhibit again returns to campus

DUBUQUE, IA – Peace activist John Noltner returned to the Loras community for the third time to share “A Peace of My Mind,” an exhibit consisting of hundreds of long biographies. He searches from town to town for interesting historical stories to share with the rest of the world.

“It is my job to see good in the world, where others may not see it.” said Noltner.

For each story, he provides a memorable quote and picture; but most importantly he takes insight from ordinary people to fuel his movement toward a common good, or “world peace.”

Noltner has completed several different projects, including a state-wide focus and an American Stories series. His current project includes international stories, which he admitted would be the most challenging biography. The hardest part of this project is the language barrier, but Noltner is confident he will be successful through the help of interpreters.

“We say we want peace, but we are not good at making it,” Noltner stated regarding the issue.

He discussed the hypocrisy of telling others to stop arguing with one another even though they, too, argue with others. Noltner considers hypocrisy to be an important problem in society. If people want peace, people have to also work for it.

“There is a disconnect between what we say we value and what we actually value,” Noltner declared.

There is a beloved community in every area that he visits, which is what motivates him to search for these compelling people and their captivating stories. He expresses his concern through interviewing and focuses on connecting with his interviewee’s in order to truly capture the story’s essence.

“What does peace mean to you?” Noltner asked the Loras participants.

To him, peace means making sure everyone has the resources they need. Peace is is conveyed through Noltner’s work, both by exhibits and the short stories that he gathers at each talk about peace. “A Peace of My Mind” has proved a success, with over 5,000 short stories collected over the course of the project.

He talked about a woman by the name of JoAnn Bland who marched for civil rights at the age of 11. Her story shares her frustration about society not being where it should be in America.

“One day we will be alright, but I want it to be right now,” she pleaded.

Peace is coming to America, but society needs to work together as a community to create that peace. The most prominent message Noltner communicated was to face things head on. Society can not just look at things from the distance; America must work together as a community and face injustices to create a world of peace.

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