Activists around the world and in our own backyard today are celebrating International Peace Day, created 25 years ago by a United Nations resolution as a time to press for an end to all wars.

At 5 p.m., members of the Foothills Peace Coalition will hold a candlelight vigil outside the military recruitment center on 1517 E. Colorado Blvd., across from Pasadena City College.

“We want to call the community’s attention to the recruitment center as the place where young people are being whisked off to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight in wars that are unjust,” said Callie White, a member of the coalition and a therapist who treats veterans psychologically damaged by war. “We’re not there to condemn the individual who is caught up in that; it’s to condemn the situation that catches them.”

The International Peace Day vigil, however, is only the beginning of a global week of action.

Here in the San Gabriel Valley, activists’ efforts will be focused on getting as many people as possible, including some pro-war area federal officials, to sign a Declaration of Peace Pledge calling for an end to the war in Iraq.

Those pledges will be delivered to Pasadena Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, Glendora Republican Congressman David Drier and Sen. Dianne Feinstein — all of whom have voted numerous times to support the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which has now cost more than 2,600 American lives and killed at least 40,000 Iraqis.

“We say chart a different course, one that doesn’t involve war profiteering and empire building and takes into account human dignity,” said Monica Carrasco, a coalition member who is trying to build the peace movement in Monrovia and will deliver petitions to Dreier.

On Monday, Altadena resident and Los Angeles Area Director of the American Friends Service Committee Steven Gibson plans to risk arrest while practicing civil disobedience to shut down the Hollywood Recruiting Station.

Gibson will be joined at the 10 a.m. action by Foothills Peace Coalition member and area Peace and Freedom Party congressional candidate Lynda Llamas.

For information on other upcoming area vigils, email foothillspeace@yahoo.com.

To sign the Declaration of Peace Pledge, visit www.declarationofpeace.org.