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Jan. 5, 2017

Chandler hosts series of Unity events to celebrate diversity 

CHANDLER, Ariz. – Each January, the City of Chandler hosts a series of events that celebrate Chandler’s diverse community, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. This year’s Celebration of Unity events include a photography exhibit and play, the 23rd Annual Chandler Multicultural Festival, a peace pole dedication and a candlelight vigil. The weekend series of events attracts thousands attendees each year.

Event activities include: “The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery,” a one-man play featuring award-winning actor Marek Probosz, who highlights the story of Captain Witfold Pilecki, Auschwitz Prisoner No. 4859. The Polish Underground’s daring undercover mission at Auschwitz was one of the best-kept secrets of World War II. Polish Army officer Witold Pilecki volunteered for this “mission impossible” to get himself arrested and sent to Auschwitz  to smuggle out intelligence and build resistance among the prisoners. The show starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave. Tickets for the play are available for purchase online at  

The lobby opens at 4:30 p.m. in advance of the show, and attendees are encouraged to visit three photography exhibits: "They Risked Their Lives," “Poles Who Saved Jews" and the Jan Karski's Exhibition produced by the Polish History Museum. In addition, an authentic World War II rail car will be onsite outside of the Chandler Center for the Arts to view and experience from the inside from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The highlight of this year’s Celebration of Unity is the 23rd Annual Multicultural Festival, which returns to downtown Chandler through a partnership with the Chandler International Film Festival. The free Chandler Multicultural Film Festival celebrates the City’s diverse community and will be held from 4-9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 13, near the Downtown Library Courtyard and the Downtown Stage.

The event will feature cultural performances, a variety of food and beverage vendors and informational booths. A few of the performers include: Indigenous Enterprise; AZ Rhythm Connection, Cool Hands Sign Language Group, Instituto de Folklor Mexicano, Master Shin’s World Class Tae Kwon Do; Aloha Studio, Chinese Lion Dancers and more. A complete entertainment schedule is available online at Around 7 p.m., the International Film Festival will begin and present five short films. After the viewing, attendees are invited to participate in a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers. 

The celebration also features the 18th annual Creative Expression Competition, which is open to all students who live or attend a school in Chandler. This year’s theme is “Leadership and Diplomacy: Showcasing youth leadership and citizen diplomacy efforts to achieve peace.” Entries were submitted last month, and the winners have been selected. All of the winners’ work will be displayed at the Chandler Multicultural Film Festival.

Before the Multicultural Festival, the community is invited to join City officials and the Rotary Club of Chandler for a Peace Pole Dedication at the Chandler Downtown Library, 22 S. Delaware St. A peace pole is a hand-crafted monument that displays the message and prayer “May Peace Prevail on Earth” on each of its four sides, usually in different languages. The languages of Hindi, Mandarin, Spanish and English will be featured on this peace pole. 

There are tens of thousands of peace poles in 180 countries on every continent, all over the world dedicated as monuments to peace. They serve as constant reminders for us to visualize and pray for world peace. The Rotary Club of Chandler is proud to promote peace in its community through the Peace Pole Project. After the dedication, Native American dancers will begin their dance to lead everyone to the Downtown Stage for the official Multicultural Festival kickoff.

Finally, the Chandler Diversity Office, in collaboration with the Chandler Men of Action, is holding the first annual One: Candlelight Vigil for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from 5-7 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 14, also at the Downtown Library Courtyard and the Downtown Stage. The event will include an introduction by local clergy members, a short Martin Luther King, Jr. documentary, a candlelight ceremony and performances by local musicians.

For more event information, visit or call 480-782-2214.