USA: Historic Agreement for Racial Equality Commemorated
By FFWPU USA: On Saturday, March 26, civic, religious and community leaders gathered at the International Peace Education Center to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the decision to desegregate services at the Moulin Rouge Hotel.
At the initiative of Las Vegas mayor, Carolyn Goodman, the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) branches in Las Vegas organized a program to honor this historic agreement as an exemplary moment of healing and reconciliation in Las Vegas. In its report on Saturday’s event, the Las Vegas Sun recorded that the Moulin Rouge was for sometime the only Las Vegas organization to allow racial integration and so became a focus point and an emblem for Las Vegas protests for racial equality.
The event began with a panel discussion facilitated by UPF on the theme of “Challenges to Equal Access and Inclusion: The Power of Reconciliation and Healing.” After the panel, WFWP enacted the Bridge of Peace Ceremony, in which women and men of different faiths, races, and nationalities symbolically cross a bridge to meet one another, freed of resentment and hatred through love. The event concluded with a Peace Festival featuring performances by several local musicians and artists. Both panel members and artists were formally recognized as Ambassador’s for Peace.
During the course of the program, several people spoke passionately about how discrimination and racism have affected their lives, emphasizing that though the Moulin Rouge Agreement may have been made 54 years ago, the process of healing from the scars of racial discrimination will continue for a long while yet. Others described their gratitude for the advances that have occurred in racial equality and interracial relations so far as well as their hope for a better future.
At one point in the program, all of the attendees were invited to write down points of frustration, forgiveness, and gratitude alike on slips of paper, which were collected altogether in a common bowl. Once all the responses had been collected, Mr. Jim Rigney and Rev. Cheryl James, pastors of different genders and races, prayed over the bowl as a gesture of liberation, cleansing, and release of the long-held pain, guilt, and longing that they represented.
Throughout the conference, various speakers stressed that racism and discrimination are problems that will require the cooperation of leaders of all ages and areas of life to eliminate. UPF, WFWP, and the Las Vegas Family Church are actively working to do their part to reconcile the situation of racial discrimination and disunity in Las Vegas. As Richard De Sena, President of UPF-USA said at the event, “It is only when we begin to see each other as true brothers and sisters that we may end discrimination. The family is a school of love and peace. We need to teach and raise our kids to love one another.”