Brentwood's first Multi-Cultural Celebration was in all aspects a success. Hundreds of people turned out to enjoy the evening, the entertainment and the excitement.
The vibe was positive all around, with people from many backgrounds conversing with their neighbors on the green and sharing the pleasures the event had to offer.
I myself was proud to volunteer in the Brentwood Diversity Committee's display along with committee members Cheryl Cooper, Alexis Easton, Dana Eaton, Rick Lemyre and Gerald and Beverly Williams.
The BDC hosted an art contest for all Brentwood schools and awarded prizes to the entries we felt best represented the theme of recognizing the gifts of diversity and the celebration of unity among cultures.
Our entries varied from finger painting to photography and were all wonderfully imaginative. It was truly a challenge for committee members to choose the best of the best.
We also saw several budding artists create some very vivid representations of the evening's events as they colored pictures of flamenco and belly dancers, African and Taiko drums well into the twilight hours.
It was truly rewarding to see all the participants smiling proudly as they showed their work to family and friends and viewed the work done by other students as well.
An intrinsic goal of our contest was to get families talking about diversity, unity and acceptance.
As parents encouraged participation and assisted with the details that made their children's artwork one-of-a-kind, we hoped they would see it as a chance to let their children know the importance of appreciating people different than themselves.
Just as the negative forces of prejudice begin in the home, so do the positive forces of tolerance and open-mindedness.
One of the targets of the BDC's mission statement is to promote acceptance among cultures; it's fun and educational events like this that spark recognition of the rich and valuable traditions every culture has to offer.
All our volunteers enjoyed the performances and we also enjoyed talking to members of the audience about their views on diversity in Brentwood and sharing information about what the BDC does.
We'll be using their input to plan our activities and areas of focus in the future. We want people to know we're available to support fantastic programs like this, and also to offer assistance when issues arise.
The Brentwood Diversity Committee meets throughout the school year and will be on hiatus until August, when our regular meetings will resume at 5 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month in the Delta Room at the Brentwood Police Station.
If you want to contact us prior to that, you can call our co-chair, Kathy Frazier, at 925-437-8212 or e-mail Rick Lemyre at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of our art show's winning entries (by Jessica Ann Russell of Edna Hill Middle School) was a photo box displaying origami cut-outs and a piano keyboard.
The title of the piece was Ebony and Ivory, recalling the simple yet profound lyrics of the 1980s Paul McCartney/Stevie Wonder duet.
One verse of the song states, We learn to live, we learn to give each other what we need to survive, together alive. The spirit of this song was evident in City Park last week.
Let's keep that feeling going as each of us enjoys the summer months ahead.