An event to be remembered!
Breakfast Co-chairs Rev Elena Larssen and Rex Richardson welcomed just over 1000 people to the 26th Interfaith Intercultural Breakfast. As guests arrived they were welcomed by the South American band Vientos Del Sur playing on the steps of the Convention Centre and greeted by the smiling 20 of CCEJ’s Building bridges Volunteer Leaders.
As guests entered the Grand Ballroom local artists Tiffany Lira and Claudio Garzon were painting two 8 x 5’ canvases on the side stage, which were later sold in a silent auction with all proceeds going back to CCEJ’s youth programs.
This year’s Breakfast theme focused on Heart and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times. Kimmy Maniquis, CCEJ’s Executive Director, welcomed everyone, celebrating the largest audience the event has seen. She invited 8th Grade Students from Westerly School to deliver the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by an uplifting song from Chozyn, a group of 5 singers comprised of 2 Pastors, 2 Deacons and a music producer/composer.
An inspiring, multi-faith invocation was delivered by youth representing 4 faiths: Abigail Vince from the Christian faith, Samia Mohamed from the Muslim faith, Sam Schulman from the Jewish faith and Jackson McCants from the Baha’i faith.
Mayor Robert Garcia presented Mr. Gene Lentzner, long-time benefactor of the Breakfast and supporter of CCEJ, with a proclamation from The City of Long Beach in recognition of his 40 years of service to CCEJ and the City in the field of human relations and in celebration of his 95th birthday.
Vice Mayor, Rex Richardson introduced Luis J. Rodriguez who opened with a native greeting, shared about his struggles of belonging around his Chicano identity, and the impact that his work has had on incarcerated people throughout the world.
Drew Gagner, CCEJ’s Board Chair presented Luis Rodriguez with a proclamation from the City of Long Beach, thanking him for providing inspiration, and for his contributions around poetry and literature.
Emerson Fersch, Stake President of the Long Beach East Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, brought the Breakfast to a close with his thoughtful closing remarks.
The California Conference for Equality and Justice, formerly known as The National Conference of Christians and Jews, is a human relations organization dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry and racism through education, conflict resolution and advocacy.
To see photos from the 26th Annual Interfaith Intercultural Breakfast click here.