Here I am opening the evening and welcoming our audience of 60+ to The Writers Place on behalf of the board. This TWP event is just one of a number of events that take place all over Kansas City for the Festival of Faiths put on annually by the KC Interfaith Alliance. This is the second year we've done this at TWP.
Donna Ziegenhorn from Festival of Faiths welcomes and announces some of the final FOF events.
Lee Slusher (Stumbling Deer) plays inspirational Native American flute throughout the early part of the program.
Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star editor, author of two books and one of Kansas City's primary voices of reason and tolerance, served as the evening's emcee.
Two of the event's authors, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Diane Glancy, in the audience at the beginning of the evening.
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, poet laureate of Kansas, begins the evening's readings. "I've ventured into midrash on this, the traditional Jewish practice of reinterpreting Old Testament stories. Or if you want to be academic, you could call it a feminist revisionist subversive postcolonial recreation."
Diane Glancy, Cherokee writer extraodinaire, reads a short essay that takes us flying the Great Plains with her. "Often people ask me to speak on Native American spirituality, which I do, but when they ask me to speak on my own, I speak of Christianity. They're always disappointed."
Karta Purkh Singh, practicing Sikh since the early 70s, reads a meditation dialogue with his mind and a list of rules for life. "Sweat some each day. ... Serve someone else, the most humble person you know."
Xánath Caraza, one of our great Latino Writers Collective writers, reads poetry in Spanish and English about key moments in her life. "When I came to the United States, I suddenly became a woman of color. In Mexico, I was just a woman--with challenges, of course. Now, I found I was a woman of color, and I thought--how wonderful! I can be purple or gold or green or whatever color appeals to me that day since I am a woman of color."
Natasha el-Scari reads from her poem, "I Am a Citizen of the World." "You're going to have to change the color and shape of that box if you want to put me in it."
Bukeka Shoals graces the end of the evening with her powerful voice and original music.
This was a remarkable evening of talent and diversity of voice and approach to spirituality. Alejandro Siqueiros, cultural attache to the Mexican Consulate, attended and said, "This was marvelous. I have never seen anything like it. The different voices and different beliefs! It was a wonderful and enlightening evening."
And all I can say is, Amen!