More than 400 people joined together at Wentz Concert Hall on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks to pay homage to those lost, but also to strengthen the Naperville community by promoting tolerance and understanding.
“In tragedy I think we do pull together because we want to feel like we are not alone,” said Kitty Benson, Minister at Unity in Naperville. “This event is giving people that chance to feel that connection to one another even thought they may not be practicing the same faith, beliefs, and philosophies of life.”
The event started in the foyer of Wentz Concert Hall with hands on activities designed for the whole family. After that, attendees joined together in the concert hall for readings, songs, and poems presented by leaders of all faiths.
“I just want all colors, all cultures to be united,” said Serena Fazal, a 13-year-old Oak Brook resident who attended the event. “ We are all human beings and we are all equal.”
15 different congregations joined the One Naperville Project and the Naperville Interfaith Leadership Association in planning the event, hoping their example of understanding would spread.
“We have come together as a community,” said Bernie Newman, member of Congregation Beth Shalom. “In a sense we are modeling the behavior we think the whole town of Naperville and surrounding communities can do.”
As the groups planned the event, they became aware of a worldwide effort called Charter for Compassion. In which individuals, groups, and cities work together to apply compassionate solutions to meet the needs of the community.
“We are all people, whatever color, whatever ethnicity, whatever background we have,” said Nizar Jiwani, member of Jamatkhana in Naperville. “We all have families and we all care for each other. As long as we remember human dignity and taking care of each other I think we will survive really well.”
The event culminated with a procession to the Naperville Riverwalk Amphitheater where the community joined together in prayers and songs of peace and harmony in hopes of moving forward to build a community of compassion.
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