Pop star singer/songwriter Alecia Moore, better known as P!nk, organized and performed at an inclusion rally at Solvang Park earlier this week.
The rally, held on Monday, featured speakers such as 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann, Pastor Chris Brown from Bethania Lutheran, members from the Santa Ynez Valley Band of Chumash Indians, the Rev. Randall Day from St. Mark’s, Rav Deborah Lewis from the Santa Ynez Valley Jewish Community and more.
The event was a call to unify the community and to engage in the common goal of unity, diversity and inclusion in the Santa Ynez Valley. Hundreds of people were in attendance.
“It was very locally focused,” the Rev. Day told the News-Press. “It didn’t veer off into supporting organizations or issues beyond our local neighborhood.”
He added that the tone remained positive, rather than focusing on the negativity in the world.
Accompanying the speakers and P!nk’s performance was a ceremonial blessing from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
“Yes, there’s pain around and there’s fear around … But we can grow from being afraid toward love, and we can grow from greed and to realizing we have enough to share,” the Rev. Day continued. “Their idea was not to be in the face of somebody else and wag fingers at somebody else, but to extend this idea of being connected and encouraging everybody who might see themselves as a minority or on the margins.”
Rav Deborah Lewis said the rally called “for a conversation in living rooms, workplaces, boardrooms, schools, churches and government offices to foster healing” from the current division.
“My message was that we are all responsible for one another,” she told the News-Press. “And when we see things or hear things that are attempts to divide rather than unify, we are also responsible to stand up and call it out. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.”
With many different organizations and cultures represented at the rally, Rav Lewis said the call was nothing more than to unify.
“We call on our community to explore with honesty and empathy the role that race, gender, sexual orientation and immigrant status play in this current climate to create a powerful wedge in our communities,” she continued. “We ask for commitments to remove this wedge, which for too long has threatened, burdened and weakened our community.”
Pastor Chris Brown spoke about the need for unity and peace, speaking to “those people who look like me,” referring to white males and speaking on recent swastika incidents.
John Ormand, who, along with his wife, helped P!nk organize the rally, shared a story about a “Black Lives Matter” sign he had placed in his lawn that got defaced.
Local activist Vashti Wilson spoke about systemic racism and sexism, and her 7-year-old daughter, Madison, shared her project Madi’s Treasure Box, which provided local schools with multicultural-colored crayons and books.
The Santa Ynez Valley Community Action Alliance, the Bethania Lutheran Church, the Santa Ynez Valley Band of Chumash Indians, St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church and the Santa Ynez Valley Jewish Community all partnered to sponsor the rally.