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Local Civil Rights Pioneer Charles Ara Honored By ‘Veterans For Peace’

Caption: Charles Ara shows his Lifetime Achievement Award from the Veterans For Peace in front of the Los Cerritos Community Newspaper office this past Wednesday.  Randy Economy Photo

Charles Ara shows his Lifetime Achievement Award from the Veterans For Peace in front of the Los Cerritos Community Newspaper office this past Wednesday. Randy Economy Photo

By Brian Hews

Charles Ara, a longtime community leader and resident of Cerritos has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Veteran For Peace at a special event held on Memorial Day this past week.

Ara was recognized by the organization for his commitment to social change and his lifelong dedication for civil rights.

“My Social conscience and my Faith Tradition contributed to me receiving this award,” Ara said.

“I was inspired by the One who said in the The Sermon on the Mount Blesses are the Peacemakers, Blessed are those who hunger & thirst for Justice, and The One who also said, ‘Put away your swords,” Ara told Los Cerritos Community Newspaper and the La Mirada Lamplighter in an interview.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cover of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ara, who is a former Catholic Priest who has long left the ministry, has been a resident of Cerritos since the late 1960’s with his wife Shirley.  They have several grown sons, daughters, and grandchildren.

“Our elder brothers in the faith, said in the Torah. They shall turn their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and nations shall not go to war anymore,” Ara said in his remarks to the organizations.

“Our Catholic Seminary training made us aware of the Social Doctrine of the Church.  I am here today standing on the shoulders of Giants in the non-violent struggle for justice and equality,” Ara said.

“Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King whom I heard in person say 17 times, ‘I Have a Dream,” Ara said.

“I have a Dream that someday the sons of slaves and the sons of slave owners will sit down together at the banquet of brotherhood.  I have a dream that someday our little children will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin,” Ara said.

 

 

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