(Clearwisdom.net) On the afternoon of February 2, 2002, Dafa practitioners from various parts of New Jersey, government officials of Passaic County and local residents gathered in the conference hall of the city library of Paterson, the third largest city in the state, to celebrate the first "Falun Dafa Week" in Passaic County.
The conference hall was decorated in grandeur with a festive atmosphere. Banners reading "Falun Dafa" and "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" were hung above the stage. Poster boards introducing Falun Dafa were set up along the corridors inside the hall.
The celebration ceremony started at 2:00 p.m. First, a representative of the practitioners made opening remarks. He briefly introduced the spreading of Falun Dafa in Passaic County and talked about the extensive response and support from different circles after the Passaic County "Falun Dafa Week" was announced. He expressed appreciation to dozens of congressmen from Passaic County, state assemblymen and senators, Passaic County council, City of Paterson, City of Passaic, City of Clifton, Borough of Hawthorne, and mayor and council of Borough of Wanaque for their consistent support of Falun Dafa.
Then, government officials of Passaic County made speeches one after another and issued proclamations for "Falun Dafa Week." Mr. Martin Barnes, the mayor of the City of Paterson, the third largest city in New Jersey, made the first speech. He said, "After the September 11th tragedy, we feel how important it is to trust and to have tolerance. Especially in cities like ours, there are over one hundred thousand residents of different races, from different countries and with different religions and beliefs. Trust and tolerance is especially important for our city. When I first encountered Falun Dafa, I thought it the most effective way for people to have trust and tolerance." Mr. Barnes read the proclamation he signed for the "Falun Dafa Week." His wife and family also attended the ceremony.
Later, Mr. Fred Criscitelli, the mayor of the Borough of Hawthorne delivered a speech. He praised Falun Dafa for helping people to stay away from drugs, alcohol and violence and pursue more meaningful lives, which he believes is important for society as a whole. He wished to introduce Falun Dafa to more people in the Borough of Hawthorne. Mayor Criscitelli also read the proclamation he and the city council signed for "Falun Dafa Week."
Mr. Bill Kline, councilman of the City of Paterson, representing the city council, delivered a speech. He said that the principle of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" of Falun Dafa applies to people from different races and benefits them. Mr. Kline read the proclamation signed by the city council for "Falun Dafa Week." He said that besides reading the proclamation at the ceremony, the council of City of Paterson would hold a formal ceremony to recognize Falun Dafa.
During the ceremony, the resolutions signed by the President of the New Jersey Senate and the President of General Assembly were read to congratulate the Passaic County "Falun Dafa Week." In addition, Mr. Alfred E. Steele, assemblyman of New Jersey, issued a proclamation to Falun Dafa and Master Li Hongzhi. Mr. James Anzaldi, the mayor of the City of Clifton, and Mr. Samuel Rivera, the mayor of the City of Passaic issued proclamations for "Falun Dafa Week."
At the celebration, a video program introducing Falun Dafa was shown. The practitioners presented Falun Dafa videotapes and books to the guests attending the ceremony.
After a 10-minute break, the practitioners demonstrated Falun Gong exercises to the local residents attending the ceremony. Ms. Nancy, a staff member of the library, invited many of her friends to attend the celebration ceremony and to learn the exercise after she read the poster boards on Falun Dafa at the library. She said that she would contact the library administrators to have Falun Dafa classes long term at the library .