Some 1,500 “Suns of the New Era” advance toward 2018.

April 29–30—A palpable sense of empowerment, hope and courage swept across West Territory, as some 1,500 “Suns of the New Era” united to refresh their vow for kosen-rufu, with their gaze fixed on the 50,000 youth gathering in 2018.

Young women and several hundred guests gathered during the last weekend of April at seven locations—Santa Monica, California; Las Vegas; San Francisco; Seattle; Spokane, Washington; Eugene, Oregon; and Honolulu—for the West Territory “Suns of the New Era” gatherings.

Highlights included faith experiences, Ikeda Youth Ensemble performances, a proclamation presentation, 58 Gohonzon conferrals and encouragement by SGI-USA Women’s Leader Akemi Bailey-Haynie.

In her opening words from the Santa Monica location, which kicked off the gatherings, West Territory Young Women’s Leader Takako Mino introduced a proclamation issued by Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer, declaring April 24,[1]2017, “Daisaku and Kaneko Ikeda Peace and Justice Day” in the city.

Addressing the audience in Santa Monica, Ms. Bailey-Haynie congratulated the new members who joined the SGI-USA that day and thanked the guests for attending. “Becoming a member of the SGI during your youth,” she said, “will prepare you to live with undefeatable confidence, boundless courage, profound gratitude and the deepest respect for other human beings.”

“What is the antidote to the current social crises in society?” Ms. Bailey-Haynie asked. “It is our efforts to awaken thousands upon thousands of youth committed to generating unstoppable courage and respect for the lives of all people,” she said.

“Together with Sensei, let’s dare to test the truth of this Buddhism. Let’s dare to overcome our weaknesses and challenge ourselves to never give up so that we can ensure a hope-filled, glorious and golden future for our families and our beloved America. Let’s dare to shine with hope, dare to live with courage and dare to become absolutely happy!”