"Truth, Compassion, Tolerance -- The Journey of Falun Dafa" Photo Exhibition Opens in Albany, the New York State Capital (photos)
At 10a.m. on April 15, the weeklong photo exhibition entitled "Truth,Compassion, Tolerance -- The Journey of Falun Dafa" opened successfully in Albany, the capital city of the state of New York. Assemblyman John McEneny and Assemblyman Robert Prentiss came to make warm public speeches and cut the ribbons to open the photo exhibition. Although he couldn't come to the ceremony in person, State Senator Neil Breslin issued a proclamation to honor the photo exhibition by proclaiming April 15-21 as "Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance Week." The next day, State Senator Ada Smith had her staff send a resolution suggesting that Governor Pataki proclaim April 15-21 as "Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance Week."
This photo exhibition was held at the government agencies complex, Empire State Plaza, located at the North Lobby of the busy Concourse level, which is the entrance to the Capitol and the Legislative Office Building. The Empire State Plaza contains most of the Government agencies of New York State. There are several thousand state employees in the above-mentioned two buildings alone. A week before the exhibition, practitioners had sent faxes to each of the state legislators to inform them about the photo exhibition.
Practitioners set up the exhibition on the weekend. The day before the opening, the biggest newspaper in the city sent a reporter to interview practitioners. The next morning, they published an article on the front page of the B section, objectively and positively covering the story of Falun Dafa and the photo exhibition. Therefore, many people came to know about the truth of the Chinese government's persecution against Falun Dafa practitioners in China.
During the opening ceremony, a practitioner first made some welcoming remarks. She briefly made an introduction of the contents of the exhibition and introduced each of the guests of honor. Assemblyman McEneny then made a very insightful speech and condemned the Chinese government's persecution. He expressed his wish that more people would come to learn and practice Falun Gong, and he wished the photo exhibition a great success.
Then Assemblyman Prentiss made a warm speech, "Falun Dafa has helped people worldwide improve their health, purify their minds, and deepen their understanding of life and humanity." He said. "... That's why I was so shocked to read on the front page of the TU this morning that practitioners -- including family members and loved ones of those present here today -- are being killed, tortured and imprisoned by the thousands in Communist China for speaking up for their beliefs. It's a global tragedy...I wish the Falun Dafa movement much success in its ongoing endeavors to secure world peace for us all."
The last speaker was a local practitioner who introduced the background of the photos and the most updated situation of the persecution against Falun Gong in China by the Chinese government. She disclosed the fact that her mother in China has been imprisoned for more than two months now because she practices Falun Dafa, and nobody knows her whereabouts because family members are not even allowed to visit her. Everyone showed deep concern. Assemblyman McEneny asked a lot of details after the ceremony.
In the end, the assemblymen cut the ribbons and opened the photo exhibition. Practitioners gave them the music CD "Pudu" and "Jishi" as gifts. The opening ceremony ended successfully amidst the exercise music and the elegant exercise demo by practitioners.
A middle-aged man with glasses walked over to our display table and he told us that his wife had just called him. She had read the newspaper in the morning and asked him to find out some information about Falun Dafa from the Internet. He was just wondering where to find it when he saw us.
The petition signature forms on the table were quickly filled up. Among the signatures we found a senator's. Before long, the senator sent her staff to tell us that she was going to issue a proclamation. As promised, she had her staff send us the proclamation the very next day.
A friend sent an email to a practitioner telling her that she saw her on the newspaper this morning, and urged her to read it.
All kinds of banners that practitioners made by hand have all been used this time. Some were put on the wall next to the pictures; some were hanging high above and could be seen from a long distance away.