More than 200 people gathered in downtown Columbus last month to celebrate cultural diversity with a march and rally.
The first Celebrating Our Diversity event on May 21 opened with a proclamation by Mayor Jim Lienhoop observing the day as Celebrating our Diversity Day, in conjunction with World Day for Cultural Diversity.
Participants volunteered for projects promoting diversity at more than a dozen information tables.
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More than 20 community organizations participated, and 15 featured speakers offered personal observations about the types of discrimination that have occurred locally in recent months, while also highlighting the positive steps taken to counter them.
Community leaders who participated and offered statements about inclusion and being welcoming included:
Jim Roberts, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. superintendent
Tracy Souza, president of Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County
Rev. Felipe Martinez, pastor at First Presbyterian Church
Julie Abedian, Columbus Regional Hospital Foundation president
Mark Stewart, United Way of Bartholomew County executive director
Aida Ramirez, Columbus Human Rights director
Reinhold Hill, IUPUC vice chancellor
Sandra Miles, IUPUC student affairs director
Advocacy organizations that shared information about problematic incidents occurring locally and the efforts to address them included:
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Columbus
Pride Alliance Columbus
Native American Indian Voices of Indiana
Islamic Society of Columbus, Indiana
Su Casa Columbus
ARC of Columbus
CMI Greater Middle-East Affinity Group
Columbus Chinese Association
Bartholomew County Indivisible