Mosaic 14 Friendship Picnic

Mosaic 14 Friendship Picnic


Do not s>>hello and welcome to another edition of “mosaic: an african american perspective.” I am deborah milo. We will be talking about montgomery county’ s third annual french at picnic taking place the third week in September. The event brings communities together . With the is jim and lisa, a member of the committee on hate violence, which seeks to foster a better understanding of social diversity in montgomery county. Thanks for taking time to come to the show. i mentioned your schedules are probably pretty busy in preparation for the picnic. Jim, I know you initiated the first friendship picnic in montgomery county in 2013. What inspired you? Jim: they came out of our response to the horrendous situation in boston, massachusetts at the boston marathon. It took the lives of so many people and crippled so many. Montgomery county wanted a way to stand in solidarity with those folks. This was a way, it was an idea for our community to have discussions around what we could do. We came together with some ideas. As a community to show and share that we are a community. That was our goal. Our program was a chance across the broad scope of diversity in montgomery county. The idea about friendship picnic. Deborah: that is exactly the concept I think about. Friendship is about bringing people from different communities. The total picture and the whole person. Communities coming together. Talk about some of the activities that are going to take place. I’ m thinking about food. And also to wonderful things. jim: we try to respect faith traditions with the kind of food we serve. There will be halal food for the muslim community, there will be kosher food for the jewish community. We will have more traditional kinds of meals. Traditional picnic kind of items. Hot dogs and those kinds of things. Pizza as well. Also a couple dishes. That is the exciting part for us to engage with our families. To engage with our children. There will be rides on the train in the park. We will have a carousel. Free rides for the kids. We will have all kinds of bouncing things. And a balloon twist, all kinds of things to keep kids engaged. The idea is to entertain them and also each other. There will be music from the stage, it will begin at 1:00 in the afternoon and close down for the afternoon at 5:00. An event for the entire family, we will have jazz, re ggae, steel drums. We will have a capella, on and on. All folks from our community will engage in this process and it will be fun. This is not — it is important to know that there’ s a reason we are doing this besides the issue of having fun and sharing the space and place, also the community in montgomery county. We are a very diverse community. Deborah: we are. Jim: so many faith traditions, races and cultures. More entertainment, more great food. We are hoping for a beautiful afternoon. Deborah: you touched on something important. You said needs. Seldom do we think about people that have certain needs in our community. Let’ s keep it honest, we want to not look at that part. We want to not look at members of our community who have needs, whether they be white, black, hispanic, asian. Talk about those that have those types of needs. Jim: misses a free event. We are thankful to our sponsoring partners who helped us make this happen. Metro parks in montgomery county has been an enormous partner in this effort. We have the fund for montgomery come on board. The police department is always a big partner. All the folks come together to help us make this happen. It’ s a free program for the community, that includes everybody. Nobody is excluded. the summer as we close down and start the school year, it is a chance to come together as montgomery county. It is a very positive thing. You come to the park that day from 1:00 to 5:00 on September 20, you are there as a full-fledged member of the community. So we are hopeful people will come out and be a part of that. Deborah: lisa, this seems like a large undertaking. I ask of both of you, you mentioned partnerships. Community partnerships are crucial to the planning and execution of this fantastic event. Talk about what organizations you are partnering with and how important and critical those relationships are. Lisa: we have partners for development of the picnic, we are excited to work with communities in montgomery county . We’ ve asked for sponsors and we are working with the faith-based community as well as the muslim side and the jewish side. We are working with the commission on human rights. Jim: the working group is part of the community partnership office. Helping us make sure we reach the interfaith community. And we got some local folks. We got costco as well. They come on board and share the experience. i think part of the process is trying to recognize folks and putting the place in position that they can be a part of this by helping out with the financial end. We are asking them to come, their employees. This is not just a handshake and a check, this is you as a business person in the community. I hope at some point in time it grows to a huge event. Last year, over 1000 people. We are excited. Deborah: this is such good information. You were just saying the numbers you had last year. They first year attendance was around 400. This year you expect at least 1500. Here it what does that tell you? What do you think about that? It has just blown up. Jim: something we talk about in our meetings is when we come in the community comes to your assistance, it is not a good thing. We want to ensure that you do not feel alone if you were the victim of a hate crime, things that the committee gets involved with. We say to that person here are some things we can do to assist you and be there for you. That is the kind of thing that keeps us moving forward. We struggle in terms of having people come out and acknowledge that they are not by themselves when these things happen. this is just a chance to enjoy yourself. All those ways that we try to reinforce it a little bit . At the end of the day, it is happening. Opportunities and our community — [Indiscernible] Oftentimes the neighbor is on the other side. Deborah: that is true. Jim: we can do better. Deborah: what you’ re saying is true, I like the analogy, the garage door clicker. Every day, how many times have you stopped to say I did not know so and so was moving out, my neighbor was moving out. Someone else who May or May not look like you or talk like you is moving in. In your subconscious, do you take the time to go and say hi, my name is such and such? Unfortunately, chances are we do not. Jim: the idea about how do we get to a point, how it blew up to these numbers. One of the things we keep doing is trying to appeal to the place where we all can relate. We can all relate to our families. Deborah: right. Jim: we all have the opportunity to not be so engaged — we are talking about 1:00 different :00, it is a finite period of time. People are starting to realize that these moments are so precious in terms of the opportunity — you’ re not worried about drama. Safety for your family. It’ s a good place to be. We’ re hoping the numbers increase and we have more and more partners come to this program. We have a chance to make it a special day. It already is, even more special. Deborah: you talked about the partnership side. Montgomery county does have a partnership fund to go to folks who are victims of incidences of hate and violence. We want to communicate that to the community so they know this is an avenue. We can help pay for things damaged as a result of issues related to victimization. We want the community to know that we are here for them. We are here for fellowship. We are also here to lend a hand in times of need. That is something important that we want to relate. Deborah: this is a great conversation. I’ m looking forward to talking further about it. We will talk about why it is important for people to participate in the picnic. When we come back, we will talk about that. For those of you who just tuned in, you are watching “mosaic: an african american perspective,” I am deborah milo. talking to jim s towe and lisa taylor. We will be back with more.>>I like discovering new things. You see what works for you and what does not. It helps you as a person. You get to make a supernova of skills and talent or whatever it is. I want to go to college.>>my name is queen, I and your dividends.>>today is saturday salad on saturday>>60 minutes of physical activity and eating well can help get your child healthy. Keep them active and eating well every day. Get involved, get going at let smove.Gov. Deborah: welcome back to).” I am here with jim stowe and lisa taylor talking about the montgomery county friendship picnic. Talking about the organization we are partnering with and we hope to have more. I cannot get over the numbers, how it has increased. That is exciting. Lisa, I wanted to talk about the montgomery county human rights commission. How does the commission work towards eliminating racism and discrimination in the county? Lisa: I worked on the committee on hate violence. We do programs such as the french a picnic. We’ ve had — the friendship to. we’ ve had a symposium on bullying. We find issues in the community for discussion and we like to bring folks to have a conversaon about what matters to them, what can we do as a community, how can we make things better. We also involve different parts of the community. We ask representatives of the committee who are volunteers, we also are parents, we have a police officer on our committee. Weeks have citizens who vote. We have an interest in making things better. Part of our plan is to do some things like the friendship picnic and different communities and see ways we can make the environment more appropriate and more inclusive for people who are different. Deborah: I heard jim say something about not just the adults to be involved, do you have a youth component that works on projects? You mentioned bullying? I’ m curious as to whether or not there are young people that are volunteers that address the issue of bullying? Lisa: we do not have a specific use component but we always welcome youth, my son is here today. He knows about what we do and how we make things better. For example, the friendship picnic, we have students who are invited to volunteer so they can earn hours. We always want the voice of the youth, they are our future. they have a certain insight into how to make things different. Bullying is an issue that is pervasive throughout the country. We invite speakers at the student level to talk about their perspective and their experiences. They are invaluable. An asset to the community of montgomery county. Deborah: as a member of the commission , what is the most challenging think you witness? Lisa: as a member of the commission, I think the hardest part is when people are victims of hate and violence , that in another itself is troubling. We know that montgomery county , as a lot being said that we do not talk about. To see folks who have been isolated or targeted because of who they are, that is something they cannot change, or because of what they believe, those are hard. We had an instance where something was written on a woman’ s driveway. That was hurtful. She went to be part of the community and was part of montgomery county. We do not like to see things like that because that is not who we are. Deborah: the truth about it is, we always talk about transparency, but the end of the day, how transparent do we want to be? We do not want to address issues, even within the african-american community, I am from the generation where I say black. We do not want to talk about issues that talk our — impact our community when it comes to discrimination. We want to believe it is a society where we have worked hard, our ancestors have struggled to make sure that the three of us can sit here today. We do not want to talk about those things. When we hear stories about people that become victims of something like that, that is really discouraging. When I look at montgomery county , I see a cacophony of beautiful communities of all colors, languages and that is how I see it through my lens. Not everybody feels that way and that is the reality. Lisa: that is why the commission is here. We want you to be encouraged. We care about you and we want to make sure that there is support for you, financial and otherwise. That is why we send out letters when we see issues and that is why we talk about these venues that would be most helpful for people in the community so there’ s more education. So we can enhance and teach tolerance for others. That is one of the reasons we exist. Deborah: did you want to add something? Jim: she covered it very well. One of the things we often hear about is Dr. King talked about us being tied together by this inescapable. There’ s no way around it, we are connected. The more we understand that, the better and stronger the community becomes. We stop a little bit, and appreciate that. It is such a struggle sometimes. You try to do the basics and put food on the table and be able to go to and from your job, those things are kind of essential. For a lot of folks it is sharing some of the same interests and so forth. It is often a total war that people go through — it is often a target of war that people go through. We have people who would like to be engaged but do not have the time. Those of us who do not have as part of their core value. They are ok to carry on their life in ways that are not inclusive. We have got that here. But I think what part of — I think part of what makes montgomery county good to live in is we are always evolving. There’ s always an “ing/ .” it is in progress. For montgomery county I think that is the big hope for those of us who do what we do. We want to always be at the forefront of showing the way , putting the peace out there from a visionary stan part — standpoint, who is what we can be. It speaks to the fact that that is something in montgomery county that is possible. There are counties — one of the things the county executive says often, ike leggett says if we cannot do it in montgomery county with all the resources we have, there’ s something to be said about us. We can do a lot of things. Deborah: you and I are both part of the workforce of montgomery county. We see a lot of wonderful things going on, we win numerous awards for the initiatives we have. That is very encouraging and positive. When I look around the landscape of municipalities, I do not always see a lot of what we are doing in those other areas. That can be a little daunting. We do work hard in order to make these things happen so it is for the good of the whole. I think, as you said, not everyone has had an opportunity to be exposed to certain elements and certain things within their life. Lisa, I like the fact that you said something that was important. You said the picnic is representative of fellowship. I like that because that is what it is. it is about people coming together and fellowshiping with one another. It does not always mean from a religious standpoint it means from a societal standpoint, as a social scientist would say. That is truly what fellowship is about, being able to bring people together from different walks of life to be able to share their experiences. Jim, you touched on that by saying you want people to talk to each other. Jim: absolutely, that is critical. One of the things we want to make sure happens as well is the interfaith goes beyond. Maybe they meet someone , maybe it is an opportunity for exchange is to take place. Maybe there’ s some mutual interest that you develop at the friendship picnic that can have some carryover impact beyond the day. When it is all said and done, who we are in montgomery county has got to be at a higher level. The idea is that to whom much is given, much is required. We get to that point with montgomery county, who we are and who we can be. That is extremely high. We are always looking at the next level of getting better. So we can become even more acceptable to every community. Opportunities and a chance to be successful in montgomery county. We are that kind of county. Where we are right now is just for the moment. What is next? How do we pushed further? With the resources we have and the people, most importantly. Deborah: I heard you say the jewish community and the muslim community. Jim: all faiths, a person who works with us is a member of the workforc in montgomery county and is involved with the interfaith working group. They have done and the marvelously important job to get a forefront of issues of hate and violence that occur. They respond immediately to some of the crises that occur. Help, support, spiritual advising for those kinds of things. The template they have created is now being looked at and inspected from 14 or 15 countries around the world. They’ ve been to the white house on multiple occasions talking about dealing with crises that occur in the community. What we are saying is this, we do not want to be the place where these things happen. We do not want to be in that situation. We want to be in a place where there are opportunities to talk about and apply this goodwill and eventually have throughout the county. We start there first. How do we fix this and move beyond the impasse to a place that is different? Deborah: this has been a fantastic conversation. Is there a website viewers can visit? Jim: they can go to the county website, montgomerycountymd.Gov. They go to the department I — and pull of the office of human rights. You will see a big poster in the middle of that page about the friendship picnic. It will give information about times and so forth at wheaton regional park, 1:00 to 5:00 on sunday, September 20. It is a free event. We hope to see everyone there. Come o ut, if you worship on sunday, come out after and enjoy a meal. We are pushing this year, it is the anniversary of the voting rights act. We will have voter registration. Deborah: fantastic. Lisa and jim, thank you for joining me. That is about all we have time for today. I would like to think my guests jim style and lisa taylor and encourage you to attend the french at picnic at wheaton regional park on September 20. I am deborah milo. Join us next month for another edition of “mosaic: an african american perspective.”

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