About seventy people gathered under the pavilion in Cass Park for the Vitamin L concert that kicked off Building Unity: Cleaning the Hate on Aug. 21. The youth choir sang of understanding and human rights, inviting the audience to sing along.
During the pot-luck after the concert, participants broke into small groups to get to know one another and discuss what “cleaning the hate” meant to them. Numerous communities and at least four nationalities were represented; the discussions, too, were wide-ranging, including reflections on family immigration history, Middle East conflicts, microaggressions and homophobia.
After the discussions, the group embarked on cleaning up the trash in Cass Park, a civic gesture intended both as a symbolic statement and a practical contribution to Ithaca. Armed with plastic gloves and trash bags, participants fanned out, picking up garbage from the playground, pavilion, and surrounding areas.
Feedback on the event was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. As one person noted, “This is a very beautiful idea and gives me hope for a much better world than we currently see evidence of.”