(Minghui.org) “I’m here today to witness history, and witness the Falun Dafa practitioners walk peacefully through the streets of New York and demonstrate what they are to the people,” said consultant Marilyn Aspen, with tears in her eyes, at the starting point of the parade on May 15.

Ms. Aspen continued, "They are to show the world, not just the Chinese people but they started there, the peace, harmony, love of truth, tolerance for all people, and love, at the core. I think it's so needed for the people of the world."

Over 8,000 Falun Dafa practitioners participated in this three-hour parade in Manhattan: starting at 47th Street near the United Nations headquarters and ending near the Chinese consulate at 42nd Street and 12thAve.

The themes of the 22 formations were to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of Falun Dafa's introduction to public, raise awareness and call for an end to the persecution in China, and support over 200 million Chinese people who have renounced the communist party.

Over 8,000 Falun Dafa practitioners participated in a parade in Manhattan on May 15, 2015

A passerby captures the historical moment of the parade.

A pedestrian stops to learn about Falun Dafa.

Philanthropist: Healing for the World

John Koncoli, a philanthropist who grew up in New York

John Koncoli is a philanthropist who grew up in New York and has worked as an advocate for people with disabilities in Silicon Valley. He is currently traveling the world on a spiritual journey. He was shocked by the brutality of the persecution, but he said that Falun Dafa is remarkable for offering healing to the world.

Mr. Koncoli said, “You know what really impressed me about this parade? Oh my goodness! It is the smiles, the love, the energy and the peacefulness of the way they're presenting themselves.”

He added that parades in New York usually try to voice concerns with yelling through loud speakers, but today's parade was totally different. But he said he believed that peaceful parades are what parades should be.

He said that today's world is too materialistic. Everyone dreams about controlling the world. He resonated with “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” on the banners and commented that the reason Falun Dafa practitioners could transcend fear to achieve inner peace might be the solution for the chaotic world.

“It's Only a Matter of Time Before Righteousness Prevails”

Brian who works at the United Nations praised the beauty of the parade.

“Everyone should have freedom of belief. I thank them for coming here. It's so nice to see the parade. I think 'Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance' is what everyone should embrace because truthfulness and compassion can bring true harmony to the world and forbearance can eliminate all conflicts,” said Brian from Seville who works at the United Nations, adding that he would learn more about Falun Dafa online later.

“I support Falun Dafa 100%!” said Danny who works at Pfizer. “I hope the situation in China can change for the better. People shouldn't be persecuted for their belief.”

He said that he had seen three Falun Dafa parades and was sad that the persecution is still going on. “It's only a matter of time before righteousness prevails,” he added.

Policeman: Harmonious Parade

A policeman told the reporter with a smile, “I'm on duty so I cannot be interviewed. But I would like to say that parade participants were very orderly and no one caused any trouble. They are very harmonious!”