More than 200 Lawrencians of all walks of faith celebrated multicultural tolerance and understanding Tuesday night at the Dialogue and Friendship Dinner at the Kansas Union.
The event, sponsored by local interfaith education group Dialogue Institute of the Southwest, the Raindrop Foundation and scientific and spiritual thought magazine "The Fountain," was held to promote and recognize social responsibility in the community.
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas Poet Laureate from 2009 to 2013, who spoke at the event, said the interfaith dinner came at an appropriate time, so soon after the April 13 hate-crime shootings at a Johnson County Jewish community center and retirement home.
"Many of us feel vulnerable at this time, but we are grateful to be part of events like this in friendship and respect for one another," Mirriam-Goldberg said.
Five awards honoring outstanding leaders in the Lawrence community were given during the event. State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, and Douglas County Commissioner Mike Gaughn took home Community Leadership awards; Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen (L.I.N.K.) director Greg Moore received the Outstanding Public Service award; Kansas University Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Danny Anderson won the Outstanding Education Service award; and Vice Mayor Jeremy Farmer received the Outstanding Public Service award.
Upon receiving her award, Ballard said social responsibility and service are a duty as well as an honor for everyone.
"Life is a gift we got from God," Ballard said. "What we do with it is up to us."