Staff Reports

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

Ethan Crough

Aida Ramirez, Columbus Human Rights director

Lienhoop

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