Letter: Diverse support benefits festivalWhat a wonderful day it was! On Sept. 8 under crisp clear blue skies we gathered at Central Park to celebrate our diversity.
By: Marilyn Olson, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
What a wonderful day it was! On Sept. 8 under crisp clear blue skies we gathered at Central Park to celebrate our diversity.
We heard entertainers sharing their particular style of music. This ranged from Mu Diako,an Asian drumming group whose sound drew people from blocks around, Groupo Tirador, a rousing Latin American band sound, and Matthew Rivera, a pianist/composer and ukulele player who performed on stage and strolled the park.
This year’s festival had some new opportunities. The Red Cross Bloodmobile was available, the food shelf had drop boxes and Free Phone Minnesota gave cellphones to individuals who met income guidelines.
There were many more activities for children, both young and older throughout the day, but the hit of the day was the piñata provided by Hispanic Outreach. The Prairie Island Lacrosse team put on a demonstration, and there were stories and activities.
Among the most exciting events were the performances by Shalom Interdenominational Choir from Cuba. This group was brought to our country through the efforts of the Duff Endowment Foundation. There are performances scheduled throughout the community, but we were honored to be able to showcase them for the first time. Their offerings were absolutely thrilling!
In between sets of the choir, this year’s Amos Owen Award was presented to Lois Burnes by Barbara vonHaaren of the Red Wing Human Rights Commission. You had an opportunity to learn about this in Wednesday’s paper.
Lois is a tireless promoter and protector of the human rights of all individuals and is a deserving recipient. The Red Wing Ministerium also gave a brief and fitting presentation.
To wrap up the day, Larry Yazzie, Native American fancy dancer, gave a rousing performance and then led the audience in the closing Friendship Dance to “We Are Family,” which was the theme of this year’s festival.
All in all it was a great day made possible through the Duff and Jones foundations, city, personal gifts and the work of the Diversity Festival Steering Committee and, of course, the people who attended: It wouldn’t be a festival without you
I look forward to next year with eager anticipation!
Marilyn Olson was chair of the 2012 Diversity Festival.