CCEJ 29th Annual Interfaith Intercultural Breakfast
February 6, 2020; 7:30am – 9:15am; Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center
The California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ)’s annual Interfaith Intercultural Breakfast brings hundreds of people together to share in the vision of a truly inclusive community. The event features co-chairs, invocation speakers, and entertainment which represents multiple faiths, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and other identities.
Online registration is now closed. If you wish to reserve seats to the breakfast, please contact Katherine McIlquham at 562-435-8184 or email@example.com.
“Building Relationships to Build Community”
The breakfast features a keynote speech with a theme connected to CCEJ’s work. This year’s speakers are Taina Vargas-Edmond and Richie Reseda, who will share their personal stories about the impact of incarceration on their lives and our communities. Taina and Richie founded the organization Initiate Justice while Richie was serving a sentence in California state prison. Taina is a 2019 Leading Edge Fellow with the Rosenberg Foundation and has previously worked with the Essie Justice Group and Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Richie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Adams State University and is the founder of Success Stories, a program that helps young men in prison challenge patriarchy to better achieve their goals.
A recap of the 2019 Breakfast
Thank you to the nearly 850 people who gathered in Long Beach on Friday, March 8th, to celebrate the power of diversity and the vision of a loving and compassionate community. Our breakfast program was co-chaired by Darick Simpson and Rev. Petra Malleis-Sternberg, pictured above with keynote speaker Christian Picciolini and CCEJ Executive Director Kimmy Maniquis.
Guests were greeted by lively music from Romero y Perez and the Westerly Middle School Band, and the program opened with a beautiful dance from Kutturan Chamoru Foundation dancers. Jennifer Kumiyama gave a stirring performance of “I’m Here” from the musical, A Color Purple, earning a standing ovation.
Representatives from the Brahma Kumaris, Baptist Christian, Islamic, and Lucumi faiths gave a multifaith Invocation with the theme of “transformation.”
Keynote speaker Christian Picciolini shared the story of how he became a leader in the White Power movement of the 80’s and 90’s as a teenager, and later severed ties with hate groups. “I met people who were Jewish, black, Muslim, and gay who talked to me,” he said. “I got compassion from people who I least deserved it from. I realized I had much more in common with those people than those who hated.” Christian challenged the audience to find people “who are not deserving of your compassion” and help them overcome their hate, as others helped him.
As a closing, Rabbi Steven Moskowitz encouraged guests to “pledge to amplify our power of compassion for all whom we might meet so that we might draw each other closer, and be strangers no more,” and Cantor Sara Hass led the guests in singing “Ken y’hi ratzon,” a hymn of justice and healing.
The day before the breakfast, Christian met with more than 50 youth, parents, and community members for a dialogue about his journey out of the white supremacist movement and his work to assist hundreds to do the same. CCEJ’s Building Bridges for Youth program coordinated the event and hosts year-round activities to help young people from different cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds build positive relationships and resolve conflicts non-violently. Click here to learn more about CCEJ’s work with youth.
Weren’t able to attend but want to support this program? Click here to make an online donation.