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Georgia Celebrates Sweet Auburn Festival 2006

July 2006
Georgia Celebrates Sweet Auburn Festival 2006

The Friends of Sweet Auburn organized ‘The Legends, Heroes and Heroines Awards Recognition Lunch' to pay tribute to the Honorary Festival Co-Chairs and the members of the Festival Committee for 2006, who manifested the spirit of Sweet Auburn. The event was attended by African-American entrepreneurs, members of the Gandhi Foundation USA, media representatives, African, Caribbean and Brazilian community activists, and Georgia's Lt.Governor, Mark Taylor.

Hon. Taylor applauded Charles Johnson, the Founder of the Festival, for organizing the mammoth event on the historical Auburn Avenue with a record attendance stretching seven blocks. This Festival provided an invaluable opportunity to local community entrepreneurs. With a recent focus on supporting minority businesses and women-owned businesses, Hon. Taylor said, " I give you my pledge that I will continue to encourage education and minority businesses in Metro Atlanta and Georgia".

In his uplifting Invocation, Rev. Dr. Rudi Kruger of International Church for All Nations, asked Georgians to break the walls that divide us by race and culture just like the Berlin wall. The Festival dedicated to Mrs. Coretta Scott King, aimed to promote her philosophy and to reflect the same spirit that ended apartheid in South Africa. Several individuals were honored for their contributions. The President of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Georgia, Douglas Barzey, Chair of Atlanta-Rio de Janeiro Sister city commission, Wilma Kruger, President of Sheba Foods, Kunmi Oluleye, Asian American Foundation's Farooq Soomro and Giriraj Rao, the Founder and Executive Director of the Gandhi Foundation of USA.

Farooq Soomro said, "After 9/11, there is a greater need for the ethnic and religious communities and nationalities to come together and I wish to thank Charles Johnson and his team for the marvelous Festival."

The Founder and Executive Director of The Gandhi Foundation of USA, Giriraj Rao, a highly respected veteran social activist, known for his deep reverence for Gandhi, who with his zealous stewardship of the Gandhi Foundation of USA built bridges with other communities and made the Foundation truly more mainstream. Reminiscing fondly about the Auburn Avenue, he said, "Our nation is strong today with the diversity and the ethnicities present today. Guess who created this mystic adventure? Guess who? It is no other person than the graceful Mrs.Coretta King, who we consider a matriarch of the Gandhi Foundation of USA." He also added that with the making of the movie "Gandhi", in 1983, she began the tradition of observing Gandhi's Birth Anniversary at Freedom Hall.

Mrs. King made the installation of the Gandhi Statue and the birth of the Gandhi Foundation of USA possible. Mr. Rao also said that a plan to create a triangle of peace with one Carter Center, one King Center and one Gandhi Center was in place. He concluded by congratulating Charles Johnson on behalf of the Gandhi Foundation of USA and presented him with a Gandhi Foundation of USA T-shirt (introduced for the first time at the Festival) and several books relating to Gandhian philosophy. Mr.Rao recognized members of the Gandhi Foundation of USA, Antony Thaliath, Dr. Thrivikraman, Shawn Rao, Vinodbhai Patel, Arunaben Patel, and Mahadev Desai. The above awardees joined the prestigious company of esteemed dignitaries Mayor of Atlanta Shirley Franklin, former Mayor Maynard Jackson, Congressman John Lewis to name a few.���The festival brought together people from various ethnicities for a truly colorful celebration of the life and work of Mrs. Coretta King in a successful manner.���

~���Mahadev Desai

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