The City of Chandler's Diversity Office is at it again. Working closely with the City's Human Relations Commission to develop programs and events, they've been busy creating another lineup of diverse activities as part of the annual Celebration of Unity this coming January. These events are dedicated to honoring the community's heritage and diversity, along with the spirit, ideals, life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the civil rights movement. The series is expected to attract more than 10,000 attendees this 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 chandlercenter.org.
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:" An extraordinary exhibit created by the Polin Museum, Warsaw.
- "Poles Who Saved Jews:" The phenomenon of Polish rescuers, presented by stories, faces and motivations, as well as the historical context, circumstances and the scale of the help given.
- Jan Karski's Exhibition: Produced by the Polish History Museum in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the Jan Karski Educational Foundation.
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 will be available online at chandleraz.gov/unity. Around 7 p.m., the International Film Festival will begin and present five short films on the lawn for attendees to enjoy. 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. The dedication will start at 3:30 p.m. 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.
Events are not the sole function of the Diversity Office, although they do serve a purpose to educate residents about other cultures. The Diversity staff also is responsible for other programs including distributing funding to community organizations in support of its mission, working with staff and residents as a liaison for diversity issues and ethnic groups and much more.
Stay in the know and connect with the Diversity Office on Facebook. For more event information, or to inquire about volunteer opportunities throughout the year, visit chandleraz.gov/diversity or call 480-782-2214.
Chandler International Film Festival will highlight the following five films after the Multicultural Festival. After the films are shown, attendees can join in a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers.
7:10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13.
An estranged father reunites with his young son (Stranger Thing's Noah Schnapp) in Depression-era America after the sudden death of the boy's mother. The two travel town to town where Dad sketches portraits for locals to make a meager living for the both of them. It's on this formative journey that the boy discovers not only the transformative power of art, but how to open his heart as well.
Ostoja Will Move Your Piano
Today is a day when Ostoja, a legendary piano mover from Belgrade gets a special delivery.
Sick in Africa
Meet Bernad, an elderly Yawo man from northern Mozambique who suffers from a mysterious illness. Travel along with him as he searches for answers while navigating the health care system available to him.
The New Machine
A convenience store employee's position gets threatened when the owner decides to change the old cash register with a new POS system.
After the tragic death of Helie, Finn's childhood sweetheart, he is overwhelmed by regret and grief. With the help of a mysterious stranger, Finn embarks on a journey through time and space in search of Helie, and to restore the very fabric of his life.