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Nation needs Unity in the Community celebration of diversity

Emcee Dennis Mitchell and Justice Steven Gonzales interact.

Empowerment coach Dennis Mitchell, morning emcee for multicultural Unity in the Community celebration and resource fair, said the annual event that brings diverse people together is unique.

“We should let everyone know that Unity in the Community makes a difference,” Dennis said.  “We should take this on the road.  The country needs this.”

He recognized founding organizer, the Rev. Lonnie Mitchell of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and a former director, Ben Cabildo.

Co-organizers Mareesa Henderson and April Anderson said that Unity in the Community is a labor of love.  Mareesa thanked sponsors who gave school supplies and made the event possible.

“It’s wonderful to celebrate diversity in the community,” Mareesa said, noting that 24 countries were represented in the Cultural Village. Children went to booths with “passports” they had stamped as they learned about the languages, locations, cultures and customs of the countries.

Speaker Washington Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzales of Olympia said his passion is to open access to the justice system for more people by a system of interpreters, speakers of Japanese, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

“We have diversity on the supreme court with six women justices, a supermajority.  It’s important for girls and boys to see women as justices so they can adjust their stereotypes,” he said.

“Diversity makes us stronger.  We make better decisions as a nation when we listen to different points of view,” Steven said.  “It makes the nation stronger.” 

He takes the message that there is strength in diversity to school civics classes on the rule of law and importance of justice for all.

“It’s critical for everyone to feel the justice system is available to them,” Steven said.

Morning Star Baptist Church Children’s Choir performs.

Access to interpretation means anyone can understand what is said in court, so a witness can testify and a defendant can understand what is said.

“We need to make sure hate and bigotry do not come in the way of loving everyone,” Steven said.

During the day, different groups performed.

The Morning Star Baptist Church’s Children’s Choir sang messages in several songs:

“Super God, super me, super possibilities.” “Justice for us. Love with equality.”

They held up posters in one song:  “No H8!”(No Hate!)  “Break the silence, break the chains.” “Your silence does not protect you.” “Yes, we can.”

They sang about the many colors of God’s love.

NEEMA choir of African refugees sings.

NEEMA choir of refugees from African countries sang in English and native languages. 

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