by Pat Arnold

Today is the 65th birthday of the United Nations. Men and women, with a vision of world peace, gathered in 1945 in San Francisco, following World War II, to call an end to war between nations. The goal was negotiation, not bullets; reconciliation, not threats.

Oct. 24 was the birth date. Today, the Santa Cruz United Nations Association will celebrate the event with the U.N. Day Parade on Pacific Avenue starting at 10:30 a.m.

It has been many years since we have had a parade, but this year it is a benefit for the Millennium Development Goals and the U.N.'s timeline to end world poverty by 2015.

There are eight goals:

Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Achieve universal primary education

Improve gender equality and women empowerment

Reduce child mortality

Improve maternal health

Combat HIV, malaria and tuberculosis

Ensure environment susceptibility

Create a global partnership for development

The 59th session of the United Nations met in September of this year to review the progress of the Millenium Declaration Group, originally begun five years ago by the Assembly body of the U.N. The goal to be achieved by 2015 includes a blueprint of courageous plans to reduce poverty worldwide, increase literacy and create jobs.

Although progress has been slow, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the members of the United Nations to find the will to achieve the Millenium goals because the "weak, the vulnerable and the insecure citizens of this world look to the organization for help and for protection. Let us not disappoint them."

Following the parade, which starts on Cathcart Street, there will be a rally at Abbey Square by the Museum of Art and History. Speakers include Patrick Clark, community volunteer coordinator and vice president of the Santa Cruz chapter; John E. Hope, chapter co-president and former State Department representative to UNICEF; and June Gorman, a lifelong educator and educational theorist who teaches in Santa Cruz County public schools and serves as the nationwide education chairwoman of UNA-USA. The event is free.

The U.N. chapter office is at 903 Pacific Ave., across from the bus depot. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call 426-3101.

Pat Arnold is a member of the Santa Cruz United Nations Association.

Linda's Hearth note: I like being a member of the local UNA support group, but in past two years, haven't been able to afford the very reasonable annual dues. Too bad. Maybe I cna at least make this parade?