Monday, January 11, 2010

"Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that": Milwaukee UCC Pastor Keynote Speaker for 19th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

APPLETON, WIS. - Rev. Wanda J. Washington, the first African-American female member of the United Church of Christ to start a new church in Wisconsin, will deliver the keynote address at the 19th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Monday, Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel in downtown Appleton.

The celebration, presented by Lawrence University and Toward Community: Unity in Diversity, with the support of numerous organizations, individuals and churches throughout the Fox Valley, is free and open to the public. The Appleton Area School District is one of the sponsors. The Post-Crescent and WFRV-TV CBS 5 are media partners for the event.

The theme for this year's celebration - " Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that" - is drawn from King's 1963 book "Strength to Love," a collection of some of his classic sermons on social justice and non-violence.

"Those are more than just words Dr. King delivered, they resonate with me as the true essence of Dr. King and his life's work," said Kathy Flores, the chair of the MLK committee and the intercultural relations coordinator for the city of Appleton. "Dr. King may have died by an act of violence, but he lived by acts of love and light. We hope that Fox Valley residents will join us for the celebration to hear Rev. Washington's message of love conquering hate as we celebrate Dr. King's life and are reminded that his legacy lives on through us."

Pa Lee Moua, Lawrence University assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs, said King's message remains vitally relevant today.

"Although history reflects what has been done in the past, it's still very much a part of our future," said Moua. "Dr. King's mission has and will continue to shape our nation and the lives of our children for many generations to come. Individually, it is our responsibility to continue his legacy by serving our community and striving for equality and social justice for all. As a community we need to stand together, lead by example and inspire others to make a difference."

Washington spent 20 years as a special education teacher working with deaf and blind students in Glen Ellyn, Ill., before pursuing a master's of divinity degree. She will speak on the power of hope, the many positive changes King hoped would occur in the country and the importance of people remaining hopeful in the face of adversity.

After graduating from the Chicago Theological Seminary, Washington served as associate pastor at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ for more than 10 years. In 2006, she moved to Wisconsin and started Grace United Church of Christ in Milwaukee. The church now serves more than 200 members.

The evening's celebration will include the annual presentation by Toward Community of the organization's Jane LaChapelle McCarty Unity in Diversity Award, which recognizes an area individual who has made great strides in bringing different people in the community together.

The celebration also will feature area students reading their winning essays which focus on King's theme of love triumphing over hate. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Menasha High School Marching Band and Lawrence University singer Sirgourney Tanner.

A sign language interpreter will be present for the program and a reception for all in attendance will be held following the event.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dr. Martin Luther King Essay Winners

Hameedallah Amin - Classical School , Appleton (2nd Grade)

Martin Luther King Poem

When I see a person in a wheelchair,
I don’t stop and stare.
When I see different skin,
I don’t point and grin.
Making people feel bad,
makes me really sad.
It’s not even cool
in fact it’s very cruel.
To stop these negative actions
we need to change people’s reactions.
Our world is growing every day.
We must see people in a positive way.
So let’s join hands in this dream
and stop this cycle of being mean.

Emmalea Kenevan - Edison School (2nd Grade)

If someone is mean to you, or somebody you know, be nice to whomever she or he is and they will probably stop because if someone is nice to you, you would stop, right?

I once saw a girl and a boy. The girl had brown skin and the boy had peach skin. They boy had brown eyes and the girl had blue. The girl had freckles and the boy did not. They were different, but still they were still very good friends.

Diana Hernandez - McKinley Elementary School(5th Grade)

“Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”

If you want people to love you, love one another. Treat them with respect and love. Talk to them, walk with them, or even pray with them. Treat them the way you want to be treated. Stand up for their rights and stand up for yours. Give them things that don’t cost money, like hugs, visits, kisses, and more. Use positive words to those who are sick or disabled. Calm them down with words and not fists. Freedom, peace, love, dreams, respect, and together are all powerful words. Be patient with those who are learning. Be fair, share, and be gentle with them. Let every person in the world be who they want to be and never judge by their color or personalities. Everyone has different thoughts and opinions. Respect their thoughts and opinions, and maybe they’ll respect yours too. And if everyone would hold hands together and be brothers and sisters it would be a much better world. Whenever I see someone hurt, I always ask them if they’re alright. I always think that everyone counts and we are ALL equal. And if you show love to someone every day, you’ll see how much they will thank you some day. Always remember the powerful saying Martin Luther King Jr. once gave out saying “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Hattie Kitzmann-Kelley - Kaleidoscope Academy(8th Grade)

“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everybody knows who Martin Luther King, Jr. is, right? I mean, who doesn’t. The man is practically a legend. He gave us some of the most important speeches of all time, including the “I have a dream” speech. Dr. King showed love for all people, even those who hated him. Every day we should try to be more like him; showing love and care through our actions and words. If we all at least try to be more like him this world would be at peace. I know I want to be more like him. The reason I say ‘more’ and not, ‘just like him’ is because in ways I never imagined I am like him. Everybody is! The little things we do for people show love for everyone every day. Whether you smile at someone who is not having a good day or you rake leaves for an incapable neighbor for free. Those simple things we do show love for people who are or aren’t different form us. I remember when my mom’s friend’s daughter died. So my brothers and sisters and I invited her to our school talent show and sang her a song that let her know everything was going to be O.K. And one time when I was in sixth grade I knew a girl who couldn’t talk all that well, so I befriended her and she taught me how to spell my name in sign language. I used to go to Madison Middle School and while I was there I helped out with the disabled kids. I helped them into the school in the morning and smiled at them to let them know that I was their friend. Knowing that I can do something good for another person makes me feel good inside. It lets other people know you care. Just because people are different from us doesn’t mean we should treat them any different; they’re human beings just like us. I can’t imagine what this world would be like without people like Dr. King. If we were to put ourselves in the disable’s shoes there is about an 88% chance we won’t like the outcome. People would treat us different just because we look or act different. Now come on, that’s not right! It’s not right at all. So coming to my conclusion, no matter who they are, what they do, or what they’ve done we can’t just walk away from those who ‘aren’t like us.’ We should love everyone, because we’re all just seeds in God’s hands. Dr. King didn’t do those things for recognition; he did them because when he saw how we were treating each other he wanted to make a difference!

Maria Peeples-Appleton East High School (11th Grade)

My America

Walking lines of color
in an image, trying not to falter
holding identities as our own
as we search to find our place
Black, White, Latino, Asian,
gray area.
Boy, girl,
gay, straight, bisexual,
gray area.
still marching in the streets
46 years later
struggle is pain
struggle is strength
the courage of those who spoke,
who walked alongside buses,
who dared to go to school

you are the picture of my America

who we should thank,
who we should emulate.
In my America,
injustice fills our history books
with pages screaming we will not
stand by idly and wait
Walk, Talk, Sing, America.

Dr. Martin Luther King
Harvey Milk
Rosa Parks
you have all created the song
that removes splinters from my soul
with too many of you
dying in the fight for equity,
dying to feel alive, to be free
working for the America
that your children deserved
now I’m asking
what does the world look
like for my someday children?

when I hold their hands
up to the sky in which you now reside,
what laws will protect them,
what language will they hear,
what will the media whisper to
them about their worth as human beings?

Dr. King,
will you help me make their America?

setbacks and tears,
my hopes and my fears
remember your dream
your vision of liberty, of one people
who speak words of hope.

still, words of hatred echo
in the hallways of my school
but the sound of love,
love, love
is ringing free in my heart.
for the children who never
questioned their friendship
based on the color of their skin,
the Catholic and the Atheist
who exchanged vows and hearts,
the two boys who dared to hold hands.

you are my America.

Hate, is still here, Dr. King
but love will still shine brighter
the power of your words
the image of your children,
all children,
God’s children

living free

in our America.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Foods of All Nations

Join us at the 12th annual Foods of All Nations, a program of the Fox Cities Rotary Multicultural Center

"Experience the World in the Fox Cities"
Saturday, September 19, 2009, 3:00-5:30 p.m.
Downtown Appleton (corner of Oneida and Washington Streets)

Taste authentic foods from many cultures. Enjoy the music and dance performances. Purchase gifts and interesting items in the multicultural auction.

  • Adults (advance) $10, (at the event $12)
  • Children 6-12 years $5
  • 5 years and under - free.
Tickets available at the Multicultural Center (M-Th 1-4 p.m.), Harmony Cafe (M-W 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Th-Sat 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.-8 p.m.), Goodwill Community Center (M-F 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.).

Please share this information with others who may be interested. Thank you for supporting the Fox Cities Rotary Multicultural Center and its programs.

Fox Cities Rotary Multicultural Center
128 North Oneida Street
Appleton, WI 54911
(920) 882-4056 fax (920) 882-4060
Office hours: M-Th 1-4 p.m.

Find us on Facebook and become a fan: Fox Cities Rotary Multicultural Center

Diverse book recommendations

Toward Community held our annual Celebrate Diversity picnic on Aug. 16, 2009. Attendees were asked to write down their favorite books. Though only a minority of folks participated, they came up with an interesting list that reveals diverse ages, backgrounds, and literary tastes. Thanks to TC chair Kamal Varma for compiling and sharing.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Toward Community Diversity Picnic August 2009

Toward Community Diversity Picnic:

Dear Members and Friends,

Toward Community: Unity in Diversity hosts its 17th Annual Diversity Picnic on Sunday, August 16th from, 12:00 to 3 p.m. at Sunset Park in Kimberly. It is free and open to public. Bring family and friends and join us in celebrating the Fox Valley's diversity.

Please bring a dish to pass and a lawn chair if you could. Also, share a name of a book that you've read and could recommend to others.

Toward Community will provide hamburgers, hot dogs, Hmong egg rolls and beverages.

Children's peformer Taku Ronsman with join us to play drums and lead activities for children and adults who are young at heart.

Any questions, please contact-

Kamal Varma at 920-731-0834 or email

Scott Peeples at 920-993-8905 or email

No RSVP necessary. Please come and join us to celebrate the rich diversity of the Fox Valley.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King Jr.: Student essay winners

The Post-Crescent has published the winning essays, which will be read at tonight's MLK service. Read them here.


By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God's blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic "answers" we've preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be "fixed" anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion's God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln's reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy's ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King's dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters' childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we're asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.