The Cincinnati- Dayton Human Values Festival
The Cincinnati-Dayton Sathya Sai Center organized a Human Values Fest (HVF) on April 29, 2018, at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Sai Center was very fortunate in receiving much guidance in their efforts from Kalika Grana, Director of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education (ISSE) and Alex Grana, both of whom conceived and organized the first HVF in Austin, Texas in 2017.
The Cincinnati HVF was the first family-centric community event in the region that was entirely dedicated to the expansion of love and service to all, through the practice of the five core human values - Love, Truth, Right Action, Peace and Non-Violence. The primary focus of the event was to promote the practice of human values through creative arts and music and highlight the benefits of practicing the five human values to the community.
Several local schools, various art and music groups and service organizations joined hands to promote the event. Over 100 people of all ages, including community leaders, local educators and civic-minded adults, and their families, enthusiastically participated in the festival that lasted over four hours, from 3:00pm to 7:00pm.
The festival started with a workshop “Creating Sacred Spaces” by Radha Lakshmi, an inter-disciplinary artist with strong roots in South India.
For over an hour, she skillfully guided and encouraged participants to open their hearts and minds to create unique geometrical patterns with colored rice powder that depicted their own expression of life, love and the human values. The workshop was fun-filled, interactive and unified participants in producing some amazing creative works of art.
Next, Dr. Saad Ghosn, an educator who has dedicated a major part of his life to promoting Peace and Justice through Art, enlightened the audience on the significance peace and justice had in our everyday life. He also shared about his on-going efforts with local artists to foster the interpretation of peace and justice through art and presented the work they had created together for over a decade.
The audiences were also entertained by the incredible music of Empty Hands. Their ever-versatile and talented MTV famed singer and humanitarian Nimo (Nimesh Patel) artfully integrated hip-hop and rap music with real stories of community service legends to reinforce the need to practice unity and love at all times. Both young and old danced alike and enjoyed the rhythm and message of Nimo and Empty Hands.
The highlight of the day also included a wonderful poster presentation by children of all ages focusing on their learning and experience during a 30-day Human Value Practice Challenge that was organized ahead of the festival. Some high school students also shared their perspectives about the high-impact community service projects they had either helped organized or actively participated in. Overall, with great support from the community, the event was a great success, with many requests from participants for another Human Values Festival in 2019 on a grander scale.