Religious diversity on full display at spring fest

Concord resident Harmesh Kumar envisioned the Diversity Spring Festival as a way to foster harmony, understanding and goodwill among different faith groups.

Kumar collaborated with the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County and other faith organizations of the Bay Area to launch the festival. Now in its 15th year, the event was held April 28 at Todos Santos Plaza.

The festival showcases the talents and culture of different faiths. “It is an attempt to promote goodness and service for humanity without any expectations,” Kumar says.

“We know that ignorance breeds misunderstanding and prejudice and it leads to acting out and violence against each other,” he adds. “This was our attempt to bring children and their parents together from different ethnic groups so that we can provide them a venue to get to know each other’s faith and positive contributions they make in making our human race more loving, caring and peaceful in years to come.”

Kumar notes that the current political situation makes the festival even more relevant. “We at the festival acknowledge and promote nurturing, caring and loving values inherent within all of us,” he says. “It also promotes the same principles of equality and social justice for all as enshrined in the Constitution.”

The Sikh religion was founded in 1699 to eradicate discrimination based on religion and caste, race, and social and economic status.

“They were tortured and killed for creating awareness of human rights violations for the socially disadvantaged and powerless,” he says. “Jesus had the same principles and fought for human dignity, human rights, equality and freedom for all.”

Kumar is thankful that the Diversity Festival has support from city officials/staff and local businesses, including the Todos Santos Business Association.

“We as a group look forward to providing meaning to social responsibility by supporting individuals and sponsoring businesses that strive toward improving the quality of life and building bridges within our local communities, consisting of diverse people with different faiths, cultures and ethnicities,” he says.