Unification News for October 1996


WFWP Bridge of Peace in Los Angeles

by Susan Janer-Los Angeles, CA

With the vision that representatives from all the racial and ethnic groups might cross the bridge of peace and unity as interracial pairs of sisters to embrace and honor each other in a renewed personal commitment to eradicate racism, the Interracial Sisterhood Project was held on October 5 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The program began with introductions of the MC's: Ms. Cheryl Landon, eldest daughter of the late Michael Landon, and Ms. Donzaleigh Abernathy, youngest daughter of the late Rev. Ralph David Abernathy.

The opening ceremony was Native American music performed by the California State University, Long Beach Community Drums and flautist Margarita Kleinman.

There were welcoming remarks from the chairwoman, Mrs. Sheri Rueter from Women's Federation for World Peace, who said, "You are here today to cross the bridge of peace, renewing your inner commitment to eradicate the wounds of intolerance which crippled our city and nation. I honor you for coming." Other remarks were made by Ms. Roberta Brown and Ms. Pamela Carden-V. from the Association for Cultural Awareness, Unity and Social Equality (ACAUSE).

The Bridge of Peace was borrowed from the WFWP International Friendship Conference, which paired Japanese and American women. The atmosphere was both serious and joyful.

The women crossed the bridge by entering the sides of the bridge two at a time, walking on, bowing in a gesture of respect and repentance, and meeting in the middle to embrace. Then the four sisters left the middle of the bridge holding hands together. Even some young girls participated.

The first guest speaker was Ms. Kathleen Calderon, a business advisor who has worked in California government. She shared about her mother, who taught her that there is but one race, humanity. She told the audience, "Prejudice isn't just a closed mind; it's an open wound."

The other guest speaker was Dr. Genevieve A. Shepherd, principal of the Dublin Avenue School. She spoke about love. Love does not make the world go around; it makes the ride worthwhile. And how hugging can be the best medicine.

The entertainment featured interracial duets between Sheila Vaughn and T. Renee Crutcher, including the singing of "Love Can Build A Bridge." This was followed by Bre'sha, the American Pilgrim Chorus directed by Mrs. Adelle Bloom and the Washington High School Modern Dance Group.

Reflecting on the Interracial Sisterhood Project, Pamela Carden-V. said, "Overall, I feel that the project was definitely a good start. I'd like to see it move forward to be a greater thing, moving nationally and out into the world in general. I feel we had a very good, spirit-moving event, planted seeds, laid some foundation for something greater to come."

The program concluded with everyone holding hands and singing "Let There Be Peace On Earth."


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