The Interfaith Alliance of Macomb hosted what it called a Community United Celebration in Chandler Park. The idea was to promote peace, unity, and understanding.
“This night we have the luxury of standing in a beautiful park to be together, to seek the best that the creator has for us,” said Reverend Kelly Ingersoll, Senior Minister of First Christian Church in Macomb.
As day turned to dusk on the unseasonably warm September evening, people of various faiths and backgrounds took to the park’s gazebo to share insight about their beliefs and to call for racial and social justice.
“It really is a privilege to be here with you tonight as the community’s leader to say ‘Thank You’ to the religious leaders in our community that are literally stepping up and practicing what they preach,” said Mayor Mike Inman
“The best of this community is our diversity.”
Ron Williams, Vice President for Student Services at Western Illinois University, thanked the event organizers and participants for working to symbolically eliminate hate.
“In light of the many horrific events regarding racism and terrorism that have occurred in this country and abroad, we believe that it is imperative that we join together to affirm our faith in the almighty God, to acknowledge our own biases – however slight we believe them to be, to reject the dehumanization of any persons on the basis of differences that exist, and to support all persons who believe in equality and justice for all,” said Williams, who added that his parents and grandparents were actively involved in the Civil Rights movement.
At the end of the event, crowd members held lit candles and some joined in with musician Bill Maakestad as he performed a rendition of the Bill Withers hit, Lean on Me.