Baha'i News -- Celebrating diversity: People of all ages, races, religions gather at park
July 1, 2002
Celebrating diversity: People of all ages, races, religions gather at park
By JACK MORAN< By JACK MORAN
SPRINGFIELD - Six-year-old J'Lynn Cates said she wanted to attend the sixth annual Race
Unity Celebration because she'd heard that the event would feature a clown and some balloons.
The highlight of 7-year-old
Felisha Bauman's Sunday afternoon at Island Park was when she got her face painted.
Felisha's mother, Stormii Wilson of Eugene, smiled as she sat in the warm sunshine and took it
all in. Besides the food and fun, she said, she came to the event "just to be around some good people."
Jessie Hamilton greets his friend Hazel Jones with a hug when he sees her at the Unity Race
Celebration at Island Park in Springfield on Sunday afternoon.
Terri Hutchinson, playing
Rainbow the Clown, makes balloon animals for kids.
Photos: THOMAS BOYD / The Register-Guard
More than 150
good people of all ages, races and religious beliefs showed up at the Springfield park. With the help of a picnic-style
spread and some tunes, most in the crowd spent the afternoon simply relaxing and enjoying each other's company.
event's underlying theme was evident in celebrants' ready-to-wear messages. Some wore T-shirts with the words "One Planet,
One People ... Please" while others slapped on a sticker that read "No Room in My Heart for Prejudice."
"We've gotta get
everybody to come together," said Jessie Hamilton of Eugene, who roamed the park inviting visitors to sign a guest book.
"The adults understand why we're here, and the kids seem to get into it, too."
With the help of several community
organizations, Sunday's event was planned by members of the Baha'i faith, a worldwide religion promoting racial harmony and
Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken wrote a letter in support of the celebration, saying organizers' efforts are
"not only commendable, but a necessity in today's world. ... Discrimination has no place in the world today and you have
made it a priority to educate people to that end."
Retired University of Oregon professor Edwin Coleman and his wife,
Charmaine, took home the 2002 Race Unity Award. Past winner Sarah Ross presented the couple with the honor, calling the
Colemans "wonderful, caring people who bring others together."
Other attractions included drumming by Lane Community
College teacher Don Addison, who heads up the school's summer academy for American Indian youth, and dancing led by Baha'i
"So powerful is the light of unity, it can illuminate the whole earth," a dancer announced just before moving
into a stomping performance with six other youths.
As for Felisha, she spent most of her afternoon running around and
playing with balloons, joined by a younger sister and their 3-year-old friend, Zada Day.
While the idea of promoting
unity among all people may have been a bit beyond their level of understanding, the girls already know how to get along with
others, which was the point of Sunday's festivities.
"She said it was a surprise," said Felisha, who didn't know at first
why her mother wanted to take her to the park. "This is fun. I made a mask and did some other things. Now, I'm going to get
my face painted."
"I'm going to get my face painted, too!" exclaimed Zada, as she trailed the much-older Felisha,
searching for that darn clown.
©Copyright 2002, The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon)
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