Metro, Boston

In Common, Record Breaking Attempt Reminds Us of Peace

Records were made to be broken, and on Saturday, Roxbury Children’s Services tackled the Guinness World Record for the largest human peace sign. An ecstatic crowd gathered and grew, composed of people valiantly willing to stand for more than five minutes in hopes that one day they would have quite the story for their grandchildren.

“What do we want?” yelled the hype-man into the microphone.

“PEACE!” roared the crowd.

“Where do we want it?”


Flo Rida’s “My House” played aggressively in the background as Boston’s finest gathered for the earth-shattering event. Sandra McCroom, president and CEO of Roxbury Children’s Services, which assists with the foster care, adoption, early education, and care, of over 6,000 families in Boston, was inspired to organize the attempt as she felt that the work of her organization—and others like hers—was not being fully recognized.

McCroom decided to make the world’s largest human peace sign because she wanted to do something positive for the community. She hoped that the effort might get people thinking about what peace of mind means to them, because everyone has different life experiences, and thus a different understanding of peace.

Kathleen Rullo, a single human fraction of the shape, and seemingly upstanding citizen of the world, held a sign that read “Peace To The Water In You.” She originally came to Boston Common for the Human Eye Contact Experiment, in which participants invited any stranger walking by to sit and silently share a tender, one minute-long eye gaze with them—but something else caught her eye. Rullo saw the peace sign and it pulled at her heart strings, inviting her to join the cause, and start a conversation about her own mission of peace as a self proclaimed water advocate and guardian.

“People are ripe for a deeper awareness as to their obligation to be stewards for the next generation,” Rullo said without blinking.

It’s safe to say the peace sign resonated with everyone, no matter what their background or present station—the exact effect McCroom strived to create.

“We wanted to start a conversation about what really is the main thing that sustains us, and how do you find peace of mind—while also talking about our agency,”McCroom said.

A plethora of people stood in peace sign formation within the designated roped-off barriers. In order to officially attempt to break the record, Children’s Services of Roxbury had to hire an independent auditing firm to go and officially count, which they did by handing out bracelets at the six entrances to the roped-off forming section, and then get an official adjudicator with Guinness World Records to oversee the operation.

The adjudicator, Andrew Glass, who claimed to have personally broken no records—but probably broke the record for most crisply pressed Guinness World Records uniform—said the weirdest record breaking attempt he has ever seen is the longest line of contiguous hot dogs. According to Glass, about 50 percent of the records tackled are successful.

Glass stood on stage before the crowd, ready to reveal whether they had been successful in their attempt.

“You look beautiful,” Glass said.

It felt sincere.

“The record to beat was 5,000 people … Boston, you got 1,682,” Glass said.

The slightly dissatisfied crowd filed out of the roped-off area and dispersed into Boston, having not broken a record, but having been reminded of everyone’s right to peace.

Featured Image Courtesy of Roxbury Children’s Services 

September 24, 2017