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Falun Gong Practitioners Join 4th of July Celebrations in Multiple Cities

July 08, 2015 |   By Falun Gong practitioners

(Minghui.org) From Southern California to Washington D.C., from Chicago to Texas, Falun Gong practitioners celebrated 4th of July with their communities. Chicago also hosted nearly 30 riders from the “Ride to Freedom” team traveling across the country on their bikes, whose mission is to rescue orphans whose parents were tortured to death for their belief in Falun Gong in China.

California: “I Am Touched by the Message of Compassion and Understanding”

Similar to Washington D.C., all the parades celebrating this special occasion occurred on the day of July 4. As the largest Independence Day Parade on the West coast, the 4-mile long march at Huntington Beach has a history of 111 years. With a theme of “Sounds of Freedom” and renowned actor Joe Mantegna as the grand marshal, this parade attracted over 100,000 spectators.

Waist drum performers led the Falun Gong group in the parade in Huntington Beach, California

Seeing the waist drum perform and practitioners doing exercises on the dragon float, Kelly Jones was excited, “Fabulous! Our life is always so busy and I hope we can calm down and do a meditation like this. I need something like this.”

As the only Chinese group in the parade, practitioners demonstrated the exercises on the dragon float.

Coming from Long Beach with three family members, Jones had not seen the parade in the past. “This parade makes me feel proud—I mean, so many people gathering together throughout the nation, and celebrating this land of freedom established by our founding fathers.” She said the American spirit is to tolerate diverse cultures, as well as freedom of belief and the freedom of the press.

Susan Werner has watched the parade for more than 30 years, since she was 10. “I like the float because of its Chinese tradition.” She said, “Our society needs diversity and I am a strong supporter of that. I am touched by the message of compassion and understanding.”

Ms. Sun was watching the parade for the first time. “The Falun Gong group looks wonderful and it is the best out of all the entries.”

Chicago: “They [Falun Gong practitioners] Have Brought Us Peace and Harmony”

Considered one of the top Independence Day Parades, the event at Evanston, IL, has a long history. With banners, a float, and drums, Falun Gong practitioners joined the parade for the 14th time and was the only Chinese group in the parade.

Parade in Evanston, IL, a city north of Chicago

“I like this performance,” exclaimed Lyn Maddox as she took pictures, “They [Falun Gong practitioners] have brought us peace and harmony.”

Malik Pratt was watching the parade for the first time. He said, “The drum beats were well-designed and very professional.”

Lotus float and exercise demonstration

Two young women imitating the movements

Chuks Iroegbu, basketball player from Northern Illinois University, was impressed by the float, “Great color. Cannot miss this one!”

More than 20 riders from the “Ride to Freedom” team came to this event. Coming from 15 countries, these bicyclists were on a 3,000-mile journey from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. in 45 days. Their mission, as described on the team's website, is “to raise awareness for and rescue five orphans in China targeted for persecution, simply for following the spiritual practice of Falun Gong.”

Luthfi Adam, a student pursuing a PhD degree at Northwestern University, said he admired the riders' perseverance. “You need to tell more people about this,” he said, “When everyone knows about it and helps, it [the persecution] will stop.”

Two bicyclists from Ride to Freedom waving to parade attendees.

Texas: “Will Give a Try to the Exercises”

Practitioners in the Greater Dallas area joined the parade in Plano on Independence Parkway. Among over 200 entries, the Falun Gong procession was the only Chinese group and its performance was warmly applauded.

Practitioners joining the Independence Day Parade in Plano

“We have heard about Falun Gong,” one couple said, “but we want to know more. The suppression in China is wrong and it must stop.”

A man came by on a bike and said he had not heard of Falun Gong before. “Glad to know it is so powerful in improving mind and body. I will read more about it.”

A Chinese immigrant working in an IT firm said he had been aware of what was going on about the suppression in China. “I've been busy with my work and the kids. But when I have a chance, I will give the exercises a try.”

Lotus float in the parade