"Uncompromising Spirit:" Falun Gong Practitioners' Grand Parade in Manhattan (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) It was noon on November 20, 2004. Madison Avenue in Mid-Manhattan was filled with pounding drumbeats. Several big banners with "Falun Gong" in both Chinese and English led a grand parade of more than 3,000 Falun Gong practitioners from all over the world. The theme of the parade: "Uncompromising Spirit".
It was drizzling rain that day. The parade, comprised of a number of different teams, was extremely eye-catching and brightened the cityscape. The parade included a drum team, a Falun Gong exercise demonstration team, a Falun Dafa book exhibition team, an anti-torture exhibition team to expose the persecution in China, a "Bring the Culprits of the Persecution of Falun Gong to Justice" team, an "I support Falun Gong" team and so on. Together, the parade teams extended for more than a dozen blocks. Many pedestrians stopped to watch the parade and asked for truth-clarification materials, to find out more information about Falun Dafa.
The parade teams extended more than a dozen blocks
Falun Dafa is Good!
Falun Dafa spreads all over the world
The parade was held to demonstrate the glory of Falun Dafa, to summon people's righteous thoughts and to appeal for an end to the persecution.
Ms. Li Li, a Falun Gong practitioner and one of the volunteer organizers of the parade told us, "The hundreds of millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China and overseas seldom held any parade activities prior to the persecution of Falun Gong by Jiang's regime in 1999. The group activities we had were mostly experience sharing conferences to share cultivation experiences and group practices of the Falun Gong exercises. In July 1999, Jiang's regime suddenly began their frenzied persecution of Falun Gong in China. At the same time, they exported their lies overseas, slandering Falun Gong. Falun Gong, which was generally unknown to the public, was suddenly pushed to the front of the world stage. However, most people had no idea what Falun Gong was about. They didn't know that Falun Gong was being persecuted in China."
The world needs "Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance"
Falun Dafa book exhibition
Children from Minghui School
Ms. Li Li said, "The persecution of Falun Gong in China has already lasted for more than five years. Falun Gong practitioners all over the world have been following the principles of 'Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance' to peacefully and rationally clarify the truth of Falun Gong and the facts of the persecution to people. They have distributed truth-clarification materials on streets, peacefully demonstrated in front of Chinese embassies to appeal for the end of the persecution, held free workshops in public libraries to teach the Falun Gong exercises, and participated in community parades. More and more people have gotten to know Falun Gong, and more and more people have begun to practice Falun Gong. Now Falun Gong practitioners are present in more than 60 countries and areas in the world."
Ms. Li Li continued, "All the New York City policemen who contacted us said that we were the most peaceful group they have ever experienced. More and more people and organizations are supporting us to oppose the persecution. Today, the police especially came to clear the way for us with motorcycles. This is the first time they have ever done so. Several non-governmental organizations, including Beijing Spring, the Veterans Association, Overseas Chinese Students Association, have came to support our parade despite the rain."
Ms. Li Li concluded, "Any persecution of righteous beliefs has never succeeded in history. The culprits who persecute Falun Gong practitioners will definitely be brought to justice."
A German Falun Gong practitioner traveled thousands of miles to come to the US to clarify the truth
Mr. Walter is a psychologist and a Falun Gong practitioner from Germany. He came to New York to attend the activities with his wife and his son, who just turned one year old. Mr. Walter told us that he started to practice Falun Gong in 2000. Before that, he had been practicing Tai Chi for many years. One of his friends gave him a book, "Falun Gong." Later he saw Falun Gong practitioners on campus appealing for an end to the persecution. He became interested, and began to find out more about Falun Gong, and eventually started to practice Falun Gong.
When we asked him why he traveled thousands of miles to come to New York to attend the activities here, he said that he hoped to join with everyone here to clarify the truth to people and at the same time to improve his xinxing (mind-heart nature, moral character) by attending the Falun Gong activities and experience-sharing conference.
Mr. Walter told us, "I attended many Falun Gong practitioners' parades in Europe, such as the one in Geneva. However, the parade in New York is such a large-scale event that I believe it would help more New Yorkers to understand the truth of Falun Gong. The United States is a very influential country in the world. If more Americans understand the truth of Falun Gong, it would help people all over the world to understand the truth, and help to stop the persecution sooner."
A New York resident said that people in the 21st century should all follow the principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance" and she hoped the persecution will be ended soon.
Ms. Jones, a New York resident, had her photo taken with the parade team
When Ms. Jones, a New York resident, saw the parade teams, she waved excitedly to the Falun Gong practitioners and clapped for them. She told us that she received Falun Gong truth-clarification materials more than a year ago. She had checked the website addresses listed on the informational materials and read a lot about Falun Gong. She believed Falun Gong was good. She said, "I think, the principles of 'Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance' should not only be followed by Falun Gong practitioners but by everyone in the 21st century."
Ms. Jones said emphatically, "A tyrant will not destroy people's beliefs no matter what." As a devout Christian, she wanted to send her blessings to every Falun Gong practitioner and hoped that the persecution would end soon. After the interview, she left her name, address and phone number with us and asked that we notify her of any future activities. Before she left, she had her picture taken with the parade team.
According to the parade organizer, Falun Gong practitioners planned to hold an experience sharing conference on November 20 through November 22 in New York City. The parade on the 20th was one of the major activities taking place during the conference period. In the next two days, besides the experience sharing conference, practitioners will form a "Great Wall of Truth" in New York City.