By Brianna McKnight
Buffalo’s National Federation for Just Communities (NFJC) held the Dash for Diversity event in Delaware Park on Oct. 1 to fight against bias and bigotry.
Lana D. Benatovich, a member of St. Bonaventure’s Board of Trustee’s, is the president of the NFJC.
The NFJC realized the need for people in communities to come together and express their views, thoughts and concerns. Members of a community come from all different backgrounds, cultures and religions. Each person has a different concern, view or thought and it is important for these aspects to be shared in a way where there will be no judgment.
The NFJC works to fill in communication gaps between the people within a community and highlight the needs of all people within their community. They must do this because people of different backgrounds may not always see things in the same light, but the NFJC allows people to resolve differences and come together as one. The Dash for Diversity is one event the NFJC holds to help diversify and bring together a community in peace.
The Dash for Diversity took place around Ring Road. The event started out in the morning with an inter-faith prayer, which was given by three different people of three different backgrounds, religions and cultures. They each said a prayer for everyone before the walk and, once the prayer ended, the dash started. Three paces were available for the race: running in groups of three, walking and a children’s run.
Participants paid a fee to enter the dash and the money goes toward charity they give to various organizations in their area. Once finished with the dash, the NFJC supplied the participants with lunch for everyone. This allowed all of the people in the dash to socialize and connect.
St. Bonaventure has connections with the NFJC through Lana D. Benatovich. Some of our very own SBU students have involvement in the NFJC as well.
Sophomore sociology major Taylor Erni has been involved with the group for many years and can be found as the face of the organization on the NFJC’s website. Because of St. Bonaventure’s involvement with the NFJC, Parker Suddeth, coordinator of the Damietta Center for Multicultural Student Affairs, and Soquania Henry, president of the Black Student Union, were able to spread the word of the NFJC’s event.
Members of the school community gathered together and drove to the event Sunday morning. Amina Golden-Arabaty, a junior journalism and mass communication major, was at the dash Sunday morning and thought that the event “was not only important, but crucial to the times for our society to come together and celebrate diversity.” She said “it was a beautiful day for a walk!”
“I thought that it would be a great way to expose myself and my campus community to forms of social action off-campus,” said Soquania Henry, a junior well-being of marginalized societies major. “Involvement in outside issues effecting our communities is important to raise awareness about.”
Taylor Erni commented on her experience saying, “the walk represents the way our society should be as a whole.”
More pictures of the Dash for Diversity can be found under “galleries” on buffalonews.com. To learn more about the NFJC, visit their website, www.nfjcwny.org.