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Peace Education

Peace Festival Promotes Reconciliation and Healing

United States-2016-03-26-Las Vegas Peace Festival Promotes Reconciliation and Healing

Las Vegas, United States—The Las Vegas Peace Festival 2016 commemorated “The Moulin Rouge Agreement” at the International Peace Education Center (IPEC) on March 26, 2016, with about 120 guests, participants and volunteers. UPF-USA and Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) in Las Vegas jointly organized the program, which included a panel discussion and a Bridge of Peace ceremony.

The agreement, which was brokered in 1960, led to the desegregation of Las Vegas casinos. Prior to this time, African Americans could not be guests or workers in casinos in the city.

With division and ill feelings between races becoming a growing issue in the United States, Mrs. Katherine Duncan, chairwoman of the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce and Harrison House, wanted to organize a program to promote reconciliation and healing. Two years ago, in 2014, an event was held to commemorate the agreement and, at it, the Mayor of Las Vegas, Mrs. Carolyn Goodman, presented a proclamation declaring March 26 as Moulin Rouge Agreement Day.

After the guests were welcomed, an opening prayer was offered by Rev. Herbert Brown, council member of the Las Vegas Family Church. All the attendees then recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and a beautiful rendition of “God Bless America” was sung by Jerushia McDonald Hylton and Sandy Kastel.

Mrs. Leslie Rigney, executive director of UPF-Las Vegas spoke of the need for healing and reconciliation, which ultimately starts with the individual and the family, centered on the concept that we are “One Family under God.”

Mrs. Monica Lenoir led a panel discussion, entitled, “Challenges to Equal Access and Inclusion: The Power of Reconciliation and Healing.” The panelists were Mrs. Janie Greenspun-Gale, daughter of Mr. Hank Greenspun, founder of the Las Vegas Sun newspaper who helped initiate the Moulin Rouge Agreement; Mrs. Roxann McCoy, president of the Las Vegas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Mr. Niger Innes, national spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality and a member of the Congressional Advocacy Team for the Tea Party; Mrs. Mary Perry, a long-time advocate for inclusion and equality of opportunity who currently practices law in Las Vegas; and Rev. Richard de Sena, president of UPF-USA. Many aspects of the topic were discussed, including how the individual, family, civic leaders and the media contribute to both creating and solving the problems.

The panelists were appointed as Ambassadors for Peace by Rev. de Sena, Mrs. Duncan and Mrs. Rigney. Later, the attendees wrote down any issues they had with racial unfairness, repentance, resentments and forgiveness. Mr. Jim Rigney and Rev. Cheryl James asked those who wrote down something to bring what they had written to the front of the room. Then, Mr. Rigney and Rev. James prayed for the liberation of these continued painful emotional experiences.

To conclude the program, everyone formed a large circle, and sang, “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” with a feeling that something significant had just happened in Las Vegas.

A light buffet dinner was served, which was followed by entertainment. There was dancing and sharing and friendships were made before the evening ended. Kelesio Howard coordinated the entertainment segment and also designed a beautiful program booklet.

The Las Vegas Sun covered the event and its report can be viewed at http://lasvegassun.com/photos/galleries/2016/mar/26/moulin-rouge-agreement-anniversary-universal-peace/#/0.

Contributed by: Leslie Rigney, executive director, UPF-Las Vegas

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