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Aug-13-2012 23:07printcomments

Salem Gaining Momentum for Multi-Ethnic Image

The need to reduce artificial barriers assumes even greater importance. Now is the hour, Salem.

Salem Peace fest

(SALEM) - Our capital city of Salem is going multicultural and multi-ethnic. No longer does the city pale in the shadows of State Government. We've moved way beyond that.

The two major festivals locally have provided momentum.

World Beat Festival, held the final weekend in June, offers an assortment of song, dance and costumes from across the globe. Ethnic foods encompass a wide variety of tastes. Artifacts stemming from virtually every continent are available for sale. All this takes place in our own Riverfront Park, with the tile-laden Eco Globe as an appropriate symbol nearby.

Salem Peace Festival will take place all day Saturday, a celebration of diverse races and faiths joining hands to articulate their goal of a world liberated from violence. Speakers are featured to supply direction and inspiration. Music underscores that message. This year the anti-bullying Phoenix Project will offer strategies to teens that fist-first is not the only way to communicate. All this unfolds at the Unity of Salem Church on 1777 Fabry Ave. in SE Salem.

In addition, the Sikh Faith Community recently staged a parade through Downtown to call public attention to their mantra for peace. Salem Fellowship for Reconciliation and the UN Association local Salem chapter joined forces to sponsor the Syria Prayer Vigil in memory of the innocent people slain there daily. Willamette University hosts the annual Peace Lecture every October to expose us to international issues that impinge on peace. And last year during UN Week we saw the Salem Public Library feature a panel discussion by Peace Corps alumni representing Bolivia, Iran and Lesotho. We anticipate that a similar program will take place the coming Oct. 24.

All of this adds credibility to Salem's claim as the City of Peace where ethnic collaboration is an everyday doing. In view of the recent mass shootings in Aurora, CO and Oak Creek, WI, the need to reduce artificial barriers assumes even greater importance. Now is the hour, Salem.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEWS NOTE: The writer launched his interest in international relations during the summer of 1962, when he served as a press office intern at the UN Secretariat, writing about the new era of weather satellites. He and his Asian wife, Carmela, now live in retirement in West Salem. Contact him at: 503-365-7533.

Salem-News.com Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address: luckycoyne@yahoo.com

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Adam Torgerson August 14, 2012 9:20 am (Pacific time)

Hi Barry, I enjoyed your article. Willamette students host a lot of activities that celebrate diversity. Our MLK service and celebration as well our lu'au and pow wow, are some other examples. http://www.willamette.edu/dept/oma/index.html The Hallie Ford Museum of Art also maintains one of the nicest collections of tribal art, especially from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. HFMA is free on Tuesdays, and it often hosts lectures, tours and other events. http://www.willamette.edu/arts/hfma/index.html I hope to see you and your readers at these fun events that celebrate our diversity. Adam atorgers[at]willamette.edu

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