(Clearwisdom.net) On June 19, 2004, Falun Gong practitioners in Imperial County, together with local officials and residents, gathered at EI Centro city library to celebrate the first Imperial County Falun Dafa Week. Raymond Castillo, Mayor of EI Centro city and Rolando Banks, director of El Centro City library attended the celebration ceremony. Mayor Castillo also issued a proclamation for this event and presented the proclamation during the ceremony. He also learned all five sets of the Falun Gong exercises.

Mayor Castillo presenting the proclamation

Library director Receiving Falun Gong books and video tapes donated by practitioners to the library

Exercise demonstration

Fan Dance

Mayor and other civilians learning Falun Gong exercises

Rose Banks said her pain, which had tormented her for 5 years, disappeared after the practice session

The ceremony started on 2:30pm. A representative of practitioners first gave an opening remark, in which she briefly described the situation of Falun Dafa around the world, Falun Dafa's contribution to society, and the peace, courage and strength demonstrated by practitioners during the brutal persecution.

Raymond Castillo, Mayor of EI Centro, the largest city of Imperial County went onto the podium to address the public. He said that he was honored for being invited to this event, and he hoped more of the public will come to learn Falun Dafa in the second Falun Dafa Week next year. Mr. Castillo also read a proclamation that he signed. In the proclamation, the Mayor highly commended Falun Dafa and its founder Mr. Li Hongzhi for improving health and social morality. Mayor Castillo also told practitioners that the city was building a business center, which will have a community center with capacity of 250 people. The mayor said he would invite practitioners to teach Falun Gong in the new center next year once the project complete.

To help local residents to learn Falun Gong, practitioners donated Falun Gong books and videos to the EI Centro library. Library director Rolando Banks received the books and videos expressed deep appreciation on behalf of the library.

Moreover, proclamation issued by Brawley Mayor M. Jo Shields was also announced during the ceremony. After Falun Gong exercises demonstration, practitioners also performed some Chinese cultural program including Fan Dance and Waist Drum. Practitioners' excellent performance won warm applause from the audience.

At the end, Mayor Castillo and about 20 local residents learned all the five sets of Falun Gong exercises. After the exercises instruction, people shared experiences with each other. The Mayor said that he would lend his Falun Gong book and video to one of his friends so that his friend may get a healthier body. A lady and her mother learned the Falun Gong exercises together. The lady was planning to run for city council. She said that she will help promote Falun Gong in her community.

Rose Banks, wife of the library director Rolando banks, was very excited to tell everyone that a pain, which had tormented her for 5 years, had disappeared after practicing the exercises. Her back was injured accidentally 5 years ago and since then she had been subjected to chronic and constant pain. She had tried all kinds of medication and other treatments without any luck. When she saw information about Falun Gong free instruction classes in a newspaper, she was ready to come for she was not sure if it was going to help or not. However, she then thought that she might just give a try. For her safety, her family dispatched her granddaughter to accompany her to the class. She said, when she was doing the first movement of the first exercise, pain made her whole body tremble. She told herself quietly that she should hold on to the end. After the first exercises, all the pain, which had tormented her for five years, disappeared. She said that this was the first day for her to be free of pain. Her sharing was greeted with warm applause. Mayor Castillo said that he was very happy that the city just got another happy and healthy citizen. Other civilians also shared their wonderful feelings after completing the Falun Gong class.