Monday, September 27, 2010

UMOJA Celebrates Dignity and Respect Fall Festival


Contact: Stephanie Rex

Inaugural Dignity & Respect Fall Festival Announced

Event to be held Saturday, Oct. 16 at Schenley Plaza

(PITTSBURGH, PA) Sept. 22, 2010 – UMOJA, which means “unity” in Swahili, is the name of a local African arts company that will celebrate that very concept with the Dignity and Respect Campaign’s inaugural Fall Festival, a bridge between all ages, cultures, and backgrounds expressed through food, music, and fun.

“This festival is an evolution of the Dignity and Respect Campaign and is a perfect way for the entire community to celebrate Dignity and Respect Month” said Dawnita Wilson, Program Director, Inclusion Initiatives at UPMC and the local Dignity and Respect Campaign Manager. “This is a great way for the community to get involved and engaged in driving the message that everyone deserves dignity and respect.”

The first ever Dignity and Respect Fall Festival will take place on Oct. 16, 2010 from 11 am to 4 pm at Schenley Plaza in Oakland. The festival will include giveaways, multicultural entertainment, health and educational information, community resource tables and vendor exhibits, and games for everyone. It is free and open to the public.

Community organizations and performers will be joining together to celebrate each other’s missions of equality and inclusion, in addition to adding different flavors of musicians and dancers representing cultures from around the world.

Activities include rock climbing provided by Venture Outdoors – an organization that works to promote Pittsburgh’s natural amenities, highlight the quality of life, foster a greater appreciation for the environment, inspire an active lifestyle and create a shared sense of community. Yoga classes every half hour and crafts for all ages also will be provided along with several other activities. Steel Dragon will perform at the festival, and originally started out as a lion dance team, but now includes kung fu, and Baiyuan Tongbei. Instructor Chris Young has more than 15 years of martial arts experience in several styles. UMOJA African Arts Company also will provide children’s crafts and face painting, and promotes the indigenous culture of Africa in the U.S.

Exhibitors include GLENDA – an organization that fosters appreciation for gays, lesbians, and all people by working together with diverse communities to make the region a better place; Strong Women Strong Girls, an organization that works to build upon the lessons learned from strong women throughout history to encourage girls and young women become strong women themselves; and the United Way.

Vendors include Ten Thousand Villages – a store that produces handmade gifts, jewelry, home d├ęcor, art and sculpture, textiles, serve ware and personal accessories that represent the diverse cultures of artisans in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. TTV works to improve the lives of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 different countries. Proceeds go to food, education, healthcare and housing for artisans who are unemployed or underemployed. East End Food Co-op also joins the festival and creates, promotes and works to sustain a healthy, strong and vibrant local community that serves the need for physical well-being, mutual respect, social connectedness and economic vitality. They are Pittsburgh's only member-owned natural and organic food market.

Sponsored by the Center for Inclusion at UPMC and Allegheny County, the Fall Festival features live bands, crafters, dancers and more throughout the day – for the entire family.

The Dignity & Respect Campaign is an awareness campaign designed to join individuals, community leaders, community organizations, educational institutions, businesses, and corporations under the common notion that everyone deserves dignity and respect. For more information call 412.864.3582 or e-mail
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