Aaron Duke | Staff Writer
September 8, 2022
The Love and Living Music Festival took place Saturday from 12pm to 6pm at Allegheny Commons Park on the North Side. The festival was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Thomas Merton Center. The event set a goal of $50,000 to advocate inclusiveness and peace through justice, the mission of the Thomas Merton Center.
Founded in 1972, the Thomas Merton Center aims to combat racism and racial injustice. Over time, the Thomas Merton Center began focusing on poverty and advocating for equal access to education. I promised to tell you.
Symone Saul, organizer and event moderator, explained the ‘power’ that individuals can have when ‘trying to change the world around them’. Saul said he realized this after he set up and implemented the idea of a music festival.
“There are so many moving parts working together to bring this event to life that has had a tremendous impact on community engagement and cohesion,” Saul said.
Live performances include Smokestack Lightning, Sunnileilari, Ananga Martin, May Day Marching Band, Guaracha, Open Up, 1Hood’s Treble NLS, DJ QRX and KYNA James (Issue). In addition to this varied setlist, attendees were able to perform during open mic sessions.
Many of the songs performed emphasized social injustice and racial issues. Those who performed offered different genres and perspectives. The main idea was that everyone was speaking from an emotional place. Each person provided a song that supported the theme of the African American experience.
These performances also included the ability for patrons to participate in a comprehensive dance workshop with the group Open Up. Participants participated in interactive dance sessions to the best of their ability without fear of being judged by others. Togetherness was always present. People were interacting with each other while the young audience made friends.
The community was fully involved in this event. Some enjoyed the live music while others explored many of the stands available. It was raining on the day, but I was full of energy and had a good time.
Many vendors came to support this monumental moment and worked to strengthen the community in their own unique ways. brought community involvement through the ability to discover Every stand provided an opportunity to include themselves in the community.
A representative of the artist and activist group 1Hood explained that they attended the festival because of their “ability to network with people in the community.” The group’s respect for the work of the Thomas Merton Center was also a major factor in the group’s presence at the event.
“A sense of camaraderie and a strong ability to work with people. During their time there, 1Hood had the opportunity to address specific social justice issues while supporting the work and legacy of those before them.” said performer MAN-E.
Voting stands at the event helped make a difference and spread the ability to sign up to vote. Individuals working at the stand explained how excited they are to help people sign up to vote and make a difference in promoting social justice through their communities.
Support for inclusivity extended not only to different ethnic groups and races, but also to transgender youth. Like other vendors, this worker brought his expertise to this community event and was exposed to these organizations that can help people.
The consensus reached by the vendors was that the community was a big driving force in coming together for music and recognition. Connecting with others made this event possible. Such festivals not only convey messages, but also allow people to relax and have fun.