Chinese New Year festivities fuel desire for diversity

Chinese New Year festivitiesfuel desire for diversity
The Youngstown community has long been recognized for its legacy of hard work and dedication, its strong family traditions and cultural pride, its community support and its very exclusive sense of group identity.
Through the years, the communities of the Valley have come of age within their own cultural heritage and have seen their cultural values reflected in their children, in their children's children, and in all aspects of community life. This legacy has protected the community and kept it growing stronger and moving in the same direction.
But now, the Youngstown community is changing. Its values are the same, but the expression of those values has been influenced by a new, more diverse definition of community. This new definition of community is being reshaped and reborn by a new, more inclusive, sense of community.
As a result, the community finds itself responding to new expectations of it, to new requirements of it, and to a very new reality that introduces itself to it each and every passing day. Community therefore, has come to mean something different than in the past, something more.
It's very clear that individual communities are becoming more welcoming to outsiders, more accepting and inclusive of others than ever before, and a perfect example of this fact is what occurred at Youngstown State University on the evening of Jan 16.
Members of the Chinese community gathered in Kilcawley Center to celebrate the Chinese New Year. It was an evening overflowing with all the best of the Chinese tradition. There were good friends, good food and good times. What made this event even more meaningful was the diversity of the group that came to the celebration. Every ethnic group of the Valley came to help celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese calendar.
It was an evening filled with the spirit of generosity and good will. There was sharing throughout the evening and a true feeling of acceptance and apperception and approval. It was an evening of shared values, an evening that presented a new vision of what is possible throughout the Valley. It is this possibility that will help us all build a new legacy for the entire Youngstown area.
So, on this occasion, I would like to thank all our friends in the Chinese community for their all-inclusive approach to cultural celebrations, and I invite all other members of all other communities to expand their definition of community and embrace this very promising concept of diversity.
Being a newcomer here, I am very impressed with the rich cultural heritage of the entire area, and I'm looking forward to learning more about the diversity throughout the Valley.
And on the occasion of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Monkey, "Happy New Year" to one and all.
Equal Opportunity and Diversity
Youngstown State University
Properly interpretingcolumn about the French
I'm afraid that I take exception to the headline on the Janet Eisner column that appeared on the editorial page Jan. 14.
The headline read "France's defense of secularism dumb." I believe that the writer takes much the opposite viewpoint, and that the use of the word dumb was particularly unfortunate given the complex situation in France where the church/state relationship has a long and gory past.
The writer was commenting on a new law proposed by French President Jacques Chirac against wearing Muslim head scarves and other overt religious symbols in the country's public schools.
The columnist points out that the swelling number of French-born or immigrant Muslims now constitute 8 percent to 11 percent of the avowedly secular nation.
She therefore says that she can understand the goal of the law, "even if the means are misguided and offensive."
"The French are grappling with what every Western democracy will face: a challenge to the secular state, and on modernity itself," she writes.
Further in the column she continues, "A secular state places devotion to the law above obeisance to religious belief; it respects faith without enshrining it and values personal liberty, egalitarianism and tolerance."