By Wendi Bernau
Peace Together (peacetogetherevents.com) is a coalition of peoples of many faiths (and no faith) from many different places and backgrounds who come together in an effort to build unity and community in northeast Tarrant County (TX). I serve on the leadership team of this coalition, and I am thoroughly thankful and grateful for the relationships I have developed as a result of this organization. Rabbi Charlie was catching me up after I had missed a meeting and said they were planning some more activities at the end of the route, such as face painting and food truck and music. He said they were hoping to have balloons—an arch and someone to make balloon animals. I said, "I make balloon animals." He looked at me in surprise and I chuckled and said, "it's amazing, the random collection of things in my skill set." We laughed. But he was serious (and so was I).
On the day of the event, my 13-year old daughter and I dressed alike and headed over to make balloon animals and hats. Not only was she not embarrassed to be seen with me when she saw some schoolmates arrive, but she thinks I'm like the best mom ever; it's very humbling). I wasn't sure how many children there would be, since the walk was a 3-mile journey through Colleyville, beginning at the Masjid and ending at the synagogue. There were stops along the way and police escorts and medical teams (the sub-committee did an awesome job with every detail; it was all very well executed) and vans that would offer rides to those who needed a boost.
We estimated about 300 people at the event. I think I made about 40 balloon animals/hats. I did have a few requests for swords (which are super easy to make but it seemed incongruous to make weaponry for a peace event). The weirdest thing I was asked to make was a mythological sea creature whose name I sadly cannot remember. The hardest was a panda—mainly because I've never done that before and I had to figure it out on the spot, not my preferred method. Luckily, that child had a most active and willing imagination.
There was local news channel coverage of the event: link here
People from many different faiths, ages, and races came together to rejoice and celebrate one another. It was quite a beautiful picture of what it looks like when we intentionally say YES to unity and community.