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{HARRISBURG} — Three people who have made a significant impact to the Harrisburg community were honored as new exemplars of peace in a special ceremony Friday in Riverfront Park.

Former City Councilwoman Gloria Martin-Roberts, Rev. Pastor Trey Dupont, and thought leader Ester Popel recently had trees planted in their honor along the Exemplars Grove, located on the corner of Front and Verbeke Streets. The new exemplars of peace join nine other peacemakers who have had trees planted in their honor since the grove was formed in 2018.

Friday’s ceremony marks the completion – for the time being – of the grove, which exists to honor those in the Harrisburg community who have dedicated their lives to achieving peace. They include:

  • Mahmooda Bhatti and Momin Bhatti 
  • Homer C. Floyd  
  • Peggy Grove  
  • K. Leroy Irvis  
  • Mrs. Anne Marie Judson and Dr. John Judson 
  • Dr. George Love  
  • Rabbi Ron Muroff  
  • The Honorable Jeannine Turgeon  
  • Mrs. Maude Coleman 

“Maybe 40 or 50 years from now, some of us will view from the tree tops, look down and see peace in this world,” said Lenwood Sloan, a local activist who has spearheaded the project since its inception in 2018.

At the time, the City of Harrisburg received a visit from Mrs. Naomi King, civil rights activist and spouse of the late Rev. A.D. King, brother of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Through her work with the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT), Mrs. King was able to designate Harrisburg and the Commonwealth Monument Project which was being organized by Mr. Sloan as an official IIPT visitation site.

Sadly, Naomi King passed away in March. She was 92 years old. In her honor, Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams honored her by dedicating the grove as the Naomi King Exemplars of Peace Grove.

“This Exemplars Grove is a direct byproduct of Mrs. King’s commitment to peace, as she carried on the legacy left behind by her late husband and brother-in-law,” Mayor Williams said. “Naomi King was a shooting star, passing through the sky, giving off energy, brightness, and love to everything and everyone she touched, and we were blessed to have experience her faintest glance.”

The Naomi King Exemplars Grove of Peace is included among the 300 monuments and 79 plaques throughout the city, which represent the Commonwealth Monument Project. Peggy Grove, business owner and former city council officer, has helped to push the grove project, known as the Peace Promenade, forward with philanthrophic funding.

“I am a pacifist, but I fight like hell for peace,” she said at Friday’s ceremony. “What I am able to give, I give for peace.”

Friday’s ceremony marked the formal completion of the Exemplars Grove project, though organizers insisted on adding two more trees to the grove in future years: one for Phyllis Bennet and one for Lenwood Sloan.


Contact: Matt Maisel, Director of Communications
[email protected]
(717) 255-7295

new exemplars of peace