OAK PARK (CBSLA.com) — The Conejo Valley has recently reported an uptick in anti-Semitism, hate crimes and racial incidents.
To combat this, the community came together Sunday for a unity rally to not only stand up to hate but to promote peace, respect and understanding — for all.
CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold reported from the rally. The rally, she reported, is not new but some saw it as vitally important, now more than ever.
Lexi Sloan has been participating in the walk for more than a decade.
“I think that this program and organization is a great representation of all inclusiveness and I think that’s a good start to showing what this community is all about. This isn’t a racist community this is a welcoming community,” said Sloan.
After several acts of anti-Semitism hit the community in recent months, including swastikas painted by vandals in Oak Park, supervisor Linda Parks decided enough is enough. She teamed up with the Friendship Circle, a program that helps children with special needs, to stop the hatred and spread some love.
“There has been anti-Semitic messages here in Oak Park, out in Agoura Hills and even in Newbury Park and Dos Vientos. We just can’t be quiet when that happens,” said Parks.
At the end of the walk speakers and performers entertained and spoke out. A traveling peace tree held handwritten messages.
Kids and adults also took a peace pledge to promote calm, unity and respect in the community
“It’s a real great collaboration of standing up in support of special needs and support of everyone of different faiths, to get along and unify,” said Eli Laber, director of the Friendship Circle.
The Miracle Project, a performing arts group for people of all abilities, was one of the groups to take the stage.
It’s amazing, I love performing for everybody,” said Nick Brode of the Miracle Project.
At the end of the day it was all about having a good time, celebrating our differences and coming together to create a more peaceful, tolerant and accepting community.