Bahai News - Unity in the Community a celebration for us all

Unity in the Community a celebration for us all

Your Turn: Diversity can be fun, too. See for yourself on Saturday at Liberty Park

The Rev. Lonnie Mitchell Sr. - Special to Opinion

Spokane _ I am the pastor of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in southeast Spokane. In 1995, during the time we were planning for the church year, several of us sensed that there was a lot of fragmentation in the Spokane community. There was more ethnic diversity here than people knew about but people weren't coming together.

These racial and cultural barriers seemed to hinder growth and development in Spokane.

We felt it was very important for people to know the strength of diversity in Spokane and for people of different cultures and races to understand each other. So the Unity in the Community celebration at Liberty Park was born.

We planned music and food and booths with information. Our message was: You can come to the park, there will be food and music and a picnic type situation. The booths will showcase the strength of diversity in the various organizations and allow people to network. We hoped the event would demonstrate that diversity existed in various entities, including businesses, government, churches, schools and other community organizations.

We had 500 people the first year and then it continued to grow. More than 1,500 attended last year and we're expecting at least double that at this year's Unity in the Community celebration Saturday.

This year's event was planned by community leaders who are committed to improving the livelihood of people in Spokane and the surrounding area. You can see the diversity just by looking at our list of sponsors and all that they represent.

Our major sponsors include the law firm of Paine, Hamblem, Coffin, Brooke and Miller, Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane School District 81, Casey Family Partners Spokane, Avista Corp., Metropolitan Mortgage, The Baha'i Faith, Office Depot, River Park Square, Bethel AME Church, the YMCA, Empire Ford, the NAACP, Washington Trust Bank, The Spokesman-Review, The Inlander, Telect, Nextlink, Inland Northwest Health Services, Agilent Technologies and the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base.

We cordially invite all Inland Northwest residents to join in the celebration Saturday from 10 to 6 at Liberty Park. It's free. Bring a picnic lunch, some comfortable shoes and see firsthand the amazing diversity in our community. We look forward to seeing you there!

Your Turn is a feature of the Wednesday and Saturday Opinion pages. To submit a Your Turn column for consideration, contact Rebecca Nappi at 459-5496 or Doug Floyd at 459-5466 or write Your Turn, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210-1615.

©Copyright 2000, The Spokesman-Review

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