(Minghui.org) The week of May 12, more than 7000 Falun Dafa practitioners from all over the world gathered in New York City to celebrate the 15th World Falun Dafa Day. Many of them are professionals and have to work weekdays. Why did they take off work to attend the Falun Dafa event? There are many reasons.

“I Love China, So I Need to Let People Know about the Persecution”

Frank Lee, a Chinese immigrant and computer engineer, came to the U.S. 30 years ago. He took off from work for a week. On May 14, Frank passed out Falun Dafa flyers at a busy Manhattan intersection all day.

“I feel that I need to speak up for those innocent people who have been persecuted in China. We should let the world know about the persecution,” Frank said. “I am not trying to undermine the reputation of China. I love China, so I need to expose the persecution. It is for the good of the country.

“I have almost no connections in China now, because I immigrated to America 30 years ago, but I cannot stand it that so many good people are being slandered and tortured. Nowadays, any information travels fast. We know whatever happens in China right away.

“I am doing this not only for Falun Dafa practitioners, but also for all the Chinese people. They have no access to the truth in China, especially when it comes to information about the persecution. The Chinese Communist Party has tried to deceive its own people. I need to tell them what has been going on in China.”

“They Are My Brothers and Sisters.”

Sheridan Harvey is an Australian flight attendant. Fourteen years ago, she saw Falun Dafa practitioners exercising in San Francisco and really loved the gentle movements and sense of peace. After returning to Australia, she found Falun Dafa books and a local exercise site, and started cultivating.

“What is the meaning of life? Why did we come to this world?” She found answers to a lot of questions in Falun Dafa. “Cultivating Falun Dafa has become a part of my life. I will never stop,” Sheridan said. “No matter what happens to me, I have the confidence to handle it. I have a strong mind.”

Sheridan came to New York with her 3-year-old son.

When asked why she came to the event, she told a story that happened six years ago, which made her feel that she must do something for her “brothers and sisters in China.”

“In 2008, I served on a flight to Beijing. When we were going through customs, a few Chinese officials stopped me. In their computer record, I am a Falun Dafa practitioner. They searched my belongings, and found a copy of Zhuan Falun, which is the major Falun Dafa book and I read it every day. Because of this, they didn't let me enter the country. Was possessing a book against the law? I was upset.”

Sheridam told herself that she must do something for her “brothers and sisters,” who are being persecuted for doing such a wonderful thing—cultivating Falun Dafa.

“Through this, I realized the severity of the persecution. I cannot let it continue. They are like my brothers and sisters. I feel close to them. We have the same goal. We love life and cultivation. So, there is no question that I must help them.”

As a stewardess, Sheridan was able to secure an inexpensive flight, but it still cost her $2500 Australian dollars. Nonetheless, “I am happy to be here. I was lucky to hear Master Li's lecture yesterday. Master has given me a lot during my cultivation. I am at a loss for words to express my appreciation.”

“It Is the Ultimate Answer.”

Roelle Perrachon, a Swiss government official, started cultivating Falun Dafa in 1997.

“I have benefited a lot physically from cultivation. More importantly, I realized how arrogant I was. I used to think that I knew a lot and often asked others to follow my ideas. But later I realized that I knew very little. I often thought that I was always right, and others were wrong. I didn't know that I should look inward for my own problems.

“In cultivating Falun Dafa, I learned how to look within. I am able to improve and fix my problem only after I look inward. It would be impossible for me to do that if it wasn't for cultivating Falun Dafa. It helps me to see the ultimate reasons and the real nature of things around me. It has fundamentally changed me.”

To Roelle, it is really meaningful to be part of such an event. She said, “Many people in society are lost. They don't know the meaning of life. I believe that Falun Dafa can help them re-discover true values.

“The modern world is full of violence and darkness, whereas Falun Dafa teaches Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. It is the ultimate answer to all the problems that the society has. With this teaching, we can fundamentally solve a lot of social problems,” Roelle believes.

“Also, we want to raise awareness about the persecution, which has been going on for 15 years. It should be ended.

“I started practicing before the persecution began. I must do something to support my fellow practitioners in China. Had I been born in China, I would be persecuted, too.

“I live in Switzerland, where the headquarters of the United Nations is located, so I often attend activities there to peacefully resist the persecution. That is what I can do for the Chinese practitioners. Human rights, freedom of belief - those are the rights that everybody should have.”

“Many Chinese People Want to Know What Falun Dafa Is.”

Wang Jia'en was born in Hong Kong and grew up in the Netherlands. After getting an MBA degree, she now works for a Dutch company.

“I was happy to participate in the parade yesterday. It was great,” she said. “I saw many Chinese people watching us, taking videos and photos. I talked to a few of them and realized that many Chinese people want to know what Falun Dafa is.

"Many of them were amazed by the event, because they cannot see all this in China, where Falun Dafa has been persecuted. I was very happy for them.

“I come to the Falun Dafa Day celebration in New York every year. The flight is seven hours from the Netherlands. The ticket is not expensive, but I would come at any price, because this is a special day. We bring the beauty of Falun Dafa to so many people. I cannot miss this chance.”