Peace Festival Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ideals of Equality and Acceptance with Art and Music

Submitted by Laura McDermott '10 on January 27, 2010

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., Fairfield University held a Peace Festival in the lower level of the Barone Campus Center on Wednesday, January 20, 2010.

Multi-Faith Celebration FFUThe mood was serene and the atmosphere cozy as the audience took their seats. The Fairfield band opened up with smooth jazz songs, and a number of different colorful paintings by artist Harry L. Green depicting African American musicians and dancers, as well as eclectic nature scenes, were showcased. Finger foods and free tee-shirts were distributed to early arrivals.

Multi-Faith Celebration FFUAfter the band finished playing, Original Works, a non-profit organization accentuating the performing arts, put on several performances including dramatic readings and songs sung by a chorus of children. “If you want to taste freedom, keep going,” was the repeated mantra that hung heavily in the air sung by these talented children. In one memorable moment, the children recreated the scene on the bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white person, celebrating Parks’ bravery with a musical biography.

In addition to racial equality, the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Festival also paid tribute to women’s rights and gay rights, stressing self-acceptance and the acceptance of all those who seem “different.”

Multi-Faith Celebration FFUFairfield students involved in Performing for Change read a collection of their own poetry, describing their own struggles with self-acceptance, and their dreams of living in a world that was more tolerant of differences. The readings were emotionally moving and surprisingly empowering, delivering the messages that despite our differences, at our core, we are all human beings with the same needs for love and acceptance.

Multi-Faith Celebration FFUWhen asked what she thought of the Peace Festival, Simone Jadczak ’10 said: “The speeches and poems gave a lot of insight into what other people go through. I really felt what they were saying.” I personally agreed with my classmate. The Peace Festival was an excellent way for Fairfield to begin to bridge the gaps between certain groups within the student body. It’s about keeping communication and open-mindedness alive.

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