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KC Unity Fest Urges Against Pointing Fingers After A Tragedy

Lisa Rodriguez
KCUR 89.3
Students and passersy-by gathered at Mill Creek Park, where graduates of the Social Change Institute raised awareness about blaming marginalized groups after a tragedy.

The blame game was on full display after last week’s mass shooting in Orlando, and it was on the minds of Kansas City students who attended a “Unity Fest” Saturday. 

The event is the conclusion of the American Friends Service Committee’s Social Change Institute, a summer program where teens learn and practice non-violent social change.

Students and passers-by at Mill Creek Park in Kansas City, Missouri, ate, listened to music, and had the opportunity to participate in discussions about last week's events.

Credit Lisa Rodriguez
Lisa Rodriguez
Adriana Camacho helped organize the Unity Fest. She says blaming an entire community for one person's actions is unfair.

The students started organizing the Unity Fest weeks ago. Adriana Camacho, one of the students who participated, says the timing seemed especially important in the wake of events in Orlando.  

After a tragic event, she says, people are quick to hold an entire community accountable for the actions of an individual.

“An entire community is not at fault for what happens,” says Camacho.

She says it doesn't matter what group a person is from — Muslim, LGBT, immigrant — scapegoating is simply unfair.

Ira Harritt is with the American Friends Service Committee. He says the idea for the theme of this year's event came from conversations the students had during the summer program.

“We need to have these kind of events so that people can come together and see that blaming isn’t the answer to our problems.”

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that works to increase activism in young people.  Organizers say they encourage students to speak out about local and global issues and to take action for justice and peace.

Slow news days are a thing of the past. As KCUR’s news director, I want to cut through the noise, provide context to the headlines, and give you news you can use in your daily life – information that will empower you to make informed decisions about your neighborhood, your city and the region. Email me at lisa@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @larodrig.
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