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Religious Pluralism Day at City Hall
April 21, 2016

The “Religious Pluralism Day” organized by the City of Los Angeles was celebrated at the City Hall on April 21, 2016. More than 50 different ethnic and religious groups participated in the event, with over 100 people in attendance. Ven. Youheng from Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple represented Buddhism to give a Unity Prayer, along with Father Cyril Gorgy from Holy Resurrection Coptic Orthodox Church, Rini Ghosh representing the Hindu Community, and Professor Najeeba Syeed-Miller from Claremont School of Theology.

Mayor Erci Garcetti stated that Los Angeles is a city renowned for its diversity in race, culture, and religious beliefs. He believed that we should not just ask the faith leaders to pray for world peace during time of crisis or racial riots, but we should conduct interfaith celebrations regularly during ordinary days. This is the second year that the City of Los Angeles celebrated the Religious Pluralism Day, and it is the hope that this celebration is conducted annually in the future.

During the celebration, Policarpo Chaj from Maya Vision demonstrated a bi-lingual Native American prayer to the four directions as well as heaven and earth. The youth speaker, Emma Samuels from NewGround, represented the Muslim Jewish Partnership for Change and described how she dedicated herself to her race and religion as an 18-year-old teenager. The organizer also produced a one-minute video from different religious groups and showed it during the event. The Closing Unity Prayer performed by professors Brie Loskota and Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard from University of Southern California concluded the celebration.