Community Members Attend Diversity Rally

The community celebrated diversity Saturday through song and speeches.
The second annual Warsaw Diversity Rally was at Central Park and attended by 80 people.
Gennie Brissette-Tipton and Karen Kusserow, event organizers, spoke about the importance of the rally.
The purpose of the rally is to show people who are marginalized in the community that there are others who support them, Brissette-Tipton said.
Kusserow said she hopes attendees embrace each other’s differences.
“I hope they come away with some things in the community they can do if they come across discrimination,” Kusserow said.
Chris Blackshire-Evansky spoke about lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders and life as a married gay woman.
She said her life has been a journey that has brought her to a place that warrants understanding and acceptance of people’s differences.
“I have heard the derogatory comments such as that’s disgusting, how can you do that to your children, and why do I have to see your lifestyle,” Blackshire-Evansky said.
She said her life is not a style, but a life just like every member of the community. She said she views the comments as an opportunity to educate.
John Bonitati spoke about DePuy’s culture of diversity, and said the business sees diversity as having a potential on business influence.
DePuy has Employee Resource Groups to celebrate diversity and to make  it attractive, he said. Groups include Open and Out for the LGBT community, Hola for the Hispanic community, and African American Leadership Council.
Marena Moonflower provided music. Warsaw Community High School Gay-Straight Alliance did a spoken word performance on bullying, and Traci Hamilton spoke about bullying.
Hamilton said if someone is being cyberbullied they should not reply, save everything received and contact the system administrator.
Lachelle Tullis spoke about labels. She said she has been labeled as an African-American woman and being gay. She asked her friends how they defined her, and they said hugerous, sensitive, fun and loving.
Devendra Gorhe, from India, spoke about the Festival of Diwali. He said it is an ancient Hindu festival that signifies light over darkness over a five-day period.
Brittany-Kusserow spoke about religious diversity. From 2008 to 2012 she lived in New Zealand, she said, and worked for the Anglican Church as a youth minister and interfaith chaplain. She worked with Muslim students to create a community garden.

(Story By The Times Union)