Diversity Day returning to Morristown with entertainment, ethnic foods–and a pledge, July 14

Adnan Tarakji, a Syrian immigrant, performing the Mevlevi (Whirling Dervish) Dance at Diversity Day 2018 in Morristown. Photo by Carly Cannavina.
Adnan Tarakji, a Syrian immigrant, performing the Mevlevi (Whirling Dervish) Dance at Diversity Day 2018 in Morristown. Photo by Carly Cannavina.


By Marion Filler

Pizza, bagels, and hot dogs are as American as apple pie. But it took new people with new ideas to make the introductions.

As with many other innovations, we absorbed these, added a twist or two, and made them our own.

In that spirit, Morristown Diversity Day returns to the Green this Sunday, July 14, 2019, for its second annual appearance.

Beverly Tignor, outreach chairperson  at the Presbyterian Church of Morristown, initiated the event last year.

She had the idea to “reach out into the community and to connect with other people and other groups and organizations. We were very successful in 2018, and we have added many other organizations this year to the list of supporters,” which now numbers more than 30.

“We share the common belief that all people should be treated with dignity, respect and understanding,” Tignor said this week.

Video introduction to Diversity Day:

If all goes according to plan, the sounding of the conch will start an hour-long interfaith service at 11 am. Representatives of religious and ethnic groups will address the audience with poems, prayers, songs, and messages of unity.

Among the handouts will be 99 names of God in Arabic and English, and a pledge to “Stand up for the Other,” which asks individuals to support what Diversity Day is all about:

While interacting with members of my own faith, ethnic, or gender community, or with others, if I hear hateful comments from anyone about members of any other community, I pledge to stand up for the other and speak up to challenge bigotry in any form.

Tables for each organization will line the perimeter of the Green, allowing visitors to ask questions, listen to music, and get to know each other.

“We hope people will walk around to all these tables and get information and enjoy the day and the festival,” says co-chair Franz “Cash” Owens, a member of the Diversity Coalition of Morris County.

The goal “is to have the residents of Morris County become more aware of their neighbors and learn about the diversity of the people you are living with,” Owens said.

Traditional food and music are among the highlights of Diversity Day. Food will be served on the lawn of the Presbyterian Church on the East side of the Green.

According to Owens, the food is prepared under strict supervision and will be available, free of charge, “as long as supplies hold out.” Morristown police will assist in directing pedestrian traffic when crossing over to the church.

Free entertainment will run all afternoon:

Noon: Welcome
12:10: The Lintet (band)
12:45: The Iron Wizards (singers)
12:55: Prizes and Announcements
1 pm: Call To Worship (imam)
1:15: MUJ Jam Band (band)
1:50: Chelsea (singer)
2:10: Patricia Forrester (singer)
2:45: Rob Heinink (solo guitar)
3:15: Rabbi Moshe Rudin, Adath Shalom(solo guitar)
3:30: Purple Hayes (band)
4:05: Alianza Juvenil Vigen del Cisne de Morristown (dance)


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