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A blue flag on which read “Falun Dafa Day” was raised at the city hall of New Jersey’s capital city, Trenton, on May 12. At the ceremony, Mayor Reed Gusciora presented a proclamation “honoring Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance” to New Jersey Falun Dafa Association.
A longtime supporter of Falun Dafa, Gusciora said he has celebrated Falun Dafa Day many times since his days at the State Assembly. “Falun Dafa represents liberation, freedom, spirituality, religion and everything that’s great about the capital city,” said the mayor.
Referring to the upcoming 250th anniversary of the United States, the mayor said that “all of the ideals were celebrated in the city 250 years ago. We cherish all the ideals of Falun Dafa, and hope you have a great 30th anniversary!”
Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is an ancient mind body practice consists of meditative exercises and moral teachings. It was first introduced to the public in China 30 years ago on May 13, 1992.
According to Falun Dafa Information Center, by early 1999 there were 100 million people practicing Falun Gong in China alone.
The Chinese regime, fearing Falun Gong’s popularity, started a persecution against the practitioners in July 1999. Despite the persecution, Falun Dafa is now practiced around the world. Its books and materials are freely available in 40 languages. Each year, practitioners and supporters around the world celebrate World Falun Dafa Day on May 13.
Jessie Zhao, one of the event organizers said Falun Dafa practitioners are very grateful for the support.
“Over the years, we have received 235 proclamations, certificates, and letters from officials in New Jersey,” she said. “This year, we are so happy to receive support from almost 40 officials.”
Five Congressional representatives sent proclamations, certificates of recognition, and letters.
In a proclamation, Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) acknowledged that since 1992, over 100 million people worldwide have practiced Falun Dafa. He also said that throughout the years, local Falun Dafa practitioners have participated in and sponsored events to share information about the practice.
Congressman Jefferson Van Drew (NJ-02) said in his proclamation that New Jersey Falun Dafa Association is “an inspiration to all and whose energy and achievement help us glimpse a future of hope and promise.” He added that the association “has brought honor and pride to the community and to the citizens of New Jersey and the United States.”
Congressman Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10) and Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) sent Certificates of Recognition. Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-08) sent a letter that says “here in the Garden State, Falun Dafa has been well received.” He encouraged the practitioners to continue to promote the positive teachings of Falun Dafa in the communities.
On the state level, all 120 members of the New Jersey State Senate and General Assembly passed a Joint Legislative Resolution “acknowledging World Falun Dafa Day and commending the practitioners in New Jersey for their commitment and dedication to this advanced cultivation and practice system.” The resolution was signed by Senate President, Nicholas P. Scutari, and Assembly Speaker, Craig J. Coughlin.
Essex County Board of Commissioners issued a resolution proclaiming May 13, 2022, as World Falun Dafa Day in Essex County. The resolution says that “millions around the world have experienced physical, mental and moral improvement through the practice.” The board of commissioners also acknowledged Falun Dafa’s dramatic health benefits and deeply rewarding spiritual path.
The text also commends the practitioners for their “persistent peaceful efforts to uphold human rights and dignity, which has garnered great respect from governments and citizens around the globe.”
Moreover, 25 cities from 8 counties in the Garden State joined in to celebrate this occasion. Ras Baraka, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s largest city by population, issued a proclamation, commending Falun Dafa’s “timeless values of a healthy and peaceful mind and body empower many people of many ages.”
The other cities include Bernards, Bridgewater, East Brunswick, Denville, Hillside, Lynhurst, Old Bridge, Raritan, Millburn, Montclair, South Bound Brook, Orange, New Brunswick, Monroe, Manville, Montville, Roseland, Watchung, Union City, Wayne, East Rutherford, Somerville, Roxbury, Fair lawn, and Secaucus.
Jennie Sheeks, a local practitioner, attended the ceremony. Sheeks has been practicing Falun Dafa for ten years. She works as a director of development and communication at a national non-profit.
“Falun Dafa has helped me in so many ways, as a mother, daughter, wife, employee, every aspects of my life. It helps me to navigate all the challenges of daily life in modern world,” she said.
Sheeks was very excited to see the flag over the city hall.
“It’s such an exciting and wonderful time. It’s so special just to see the flag, saying Falun Dafa Day, flying in the wind.”