(Minghui.org) “This is great. People can feel your energy and how it connects with the message of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance on your shirts and banners,” said Sini Kunnas, a portrait artist, who ran into Falun Dafa practitioners crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on May 13, 2015.

The march was just one of the events held in New York City in celebration of World Falun Dafa Day, which commemorates the anniversary of Falun Dafa's public introduction. The march started at Cadman Plaza on the east side of the river and ended on Foley Square on the west side.

More than 8000 Falun Dafa practitioners from around the world gathered in NYC from May 12 to 15. Many practitioners from Europe and the Middle East participated in the march across the bridge to raise awareness of the practice and how it is brutally persecuted in its home country by the Chinese communist regime.

Falun Dafa practitioners march across the Brooklyn Bridge on May 13.Passersby read about Falun Dafa and the brutal persecution of the practice taking place in China.

The Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883 and is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. At 5989 feet (1825 meters), it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. It has been a designated landmark since 1964.

Briget Braun, a physiotherapist from Germany

Briget Braun, a physiotherapist from Germany, participated in the march. She has practiced Falun Dafa for 14 years. “This is a special day, World Falun Dafa Day. I am happy to be with practitioners from all over the world. The energy field is wonderful. I treasure the practice of Falun Dafa, because my life has really improved,” she said.

“Another reason we are here is to raise awareness of the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China. Many are being imprisoned. The worst thing is that some practitioners are killed for their organs. Exposing this crime is important,” she added.

Carole Gustavsson: “My heart brought me here”

When asked what made her come to New York, Carole Gustavsson, who started practicing Falun Dafa in November 1999, said, “My heart brought me here. I am very happy to be with practitioners from across the world. Next week is my birthday. This trip to New York is my birthday gift from my parents. They know how much Falun Dafa means to me.”

Carole is French but lives in Sweden and is an instructor in the Department of Economics at Malmö University.

“Since practicing Falun Dafa, I now think of others first. I do not feel disappointed or sad when facing difficulties or conflict,” said Ms. Gustavsson. She said she has become more tolerant of her students and children.

Portrait Artist: I Am Fortunate to Have Met You

Sini Kunnas, a portrait artist, was excited to run into so many Falun Dafa practitioners crossing the bridge on May 13. She said she had visited China many times and has many friends there.

Sini Kunnas, a portrait artist

Ms. Kunnas, who was in New York for just a week, was pleased to see the procession. She is a Buddhist. She said she could feel the practitioners' calm and compassionate energy. She added, "Everyone wishes for a peaceful and prosperous life.”