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All People's Day Celebrates Diversity

Message John Iacovelli

All People's Day, a 39-year old holiday celebrating diversity, will be held in Delray Beach, Florida Saturday, March 31st. All People's Day honors the similarities and differences among all the peoples of the world. Family activities, particularly those for kids, expose attendees to an array of arts-oriented cultural experiences. This year's festival takes place indoors at Pompey Park at 1101 NW 2nd Street and NW 10th Avenue, Delray Beach, starting at 9:30AM. Main events begin at 11:00AM, with performances of dance, music, social theatre, and poetry taking place every fifteen minutes. The event is free. It ends at 5:00PM.

The holiday, whose motto is "Discovering Our Connections," was created in New Jersey in 1973. The City of Atlantic City was the first local government to recognize the holiday, passing a resolution making March 22 an annual celebration in a proclamation in 2006. The holiday is celebrated close to that date. The first Florida celebration took place in 2009.

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The founder of All People's Day, Susan Berkowitz-Schwartz, made this comment, addressing the special importance of recognizing diversity in light of racial violence that has brought national attention to Florida in particular in recent days:

"The recent killing of a teenager, increased attacks on immigrants, Muslims, Jews, African-Americans, LGBT individuals, violent tragedies in our schools, and extended US wars, emphasize a real need for people to value the differences and similarities that make us individuals. By the year 2050, white European Americans will no longer constitute the majority of the US population. The increased diversity will affect every child, every adult, and every senior. People from different cultures, persuasions and opinions will be interacting with one another more often than ever before. These factors emphasize a real need for people to become aware of the concerns and feelings of other groups, have respect for the differences, and recognize the similarities in order to insure human rights and create a more just and peaceful world. All People's Day addresses these concerns through creative arts festivals and workshops giving people of all ages a means of verbal and non-verbal expression regarding issues of prejudice, cultural misunderstandings, and peace. It is a holiday of respect focusing on discovering our connections."

Performing artists at Delray Beach include Rising Phoenix (Middle Eastern dance), the Delray Divas (African-American foot stomp), South Florida Taiko Dojo (Japanese Taiko drumming), SD Spady Diversity Skit, Harling Irish Dance Academy, Puppet Network (enormous size puppet performance), Temple Sinai Choir, the Solidarity Singers, and Haitian American Solidarity (dance).

Prizes donated by local businesses will be raffled off. There will be over 40 interactive and merchandise booths featuring for sale items such as artwork, jewelry, and international cuisine. Other activities include arts projects such as Origami Peace Crane folding and family mural painting, issue-based activities such as health awareness coordinated by the 100 Black Women of the South Palm Beach County Chapter, and word games.

A free workshop from 9:30 to 11:00 am will teach children to make Craft Dough People. Plain white craft dough will be distributed, along with food coloring for brown, beige, red, gold, or mixed skin tones. Kids then make faces using the different colors, teaching them that all people are made from the same materials and should therefore be treated with equal respect.

Further information is available at the All People's Day website. Groups or local governments interested in celebrating this holiday in their own towns next year may contact Susan Berkowitz-Schwartz via email (address at site).

This article originally appeared at scribillare.com.

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I am a professional in the computer field whose specialty is databases. I grew up, went to school in, and lived in New York for many years. I have lived in Florida for twenty years now, and it is a wonderful place to see and experience nature. I am (more...)
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