On March 28, 2004, San Diego Falun Gong practitioners participated in the 8th Rolando Street Festival and were warmly welcomed by the local residents.
The Rolando Street Festival is an important local activity. It not only attracts many local and nearby residents to participate, but also attracts quite a few participants from places more than one hundred miles away. This is the first time Falun Gong practitioners participated in this event. Several practitioners came very early in the morning to set up the booth. All Falun Dafa banners and photos were carefully set up, and Falun Dafa books and other materials were neatly displayed on the information table. The booth was very neat, refreshing and peaceful. During the all-day event, several practitioners continuously demonstrated Falun Gong exercises or sent righteous thoughts while other practitioners distributed fliers and clarified the truth of Falun Gong to visitors.
After 2pm, accompanied by staff members, State Assemblywoman Sherry Horton came to the Falun Dafa booth. Practitioners first thanked her for her continuous support and for issuing a proclamation in the past. The practitioners then presented her with a set of Falun Dafa books and Exercises Instruction Video Tape. Meanwhile, a practitioner invited the Assemblywoman to a Falun Gong activity organized by local practitioners. Assemblywoman Horton was very happy to accept the invitation. She told her staff to check her agenda and promised that she would attend if time allowed.
The practitioners also talked with two staff members of the Assemblywoman, explaining to them in detail the situation of Falun Dafa around the world, especially in San Diego, as well as the brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and the plight of California resident Charles Lee, who is still being illegally detained in China. The two staff members expressed their great interest in this information and hoped that practitioners would stay in touch with them in the future. They also gave some valuable suggestions on how to help Falun Gong practitioners persecuted in China.
It was a very nice sunny day, and people came to the festival in an endless stream. The practitioners were very busy distributing fliers and giving introductions of Falun Gong. Some visitors started to learn Falun Gong at the booth, some said that they would come to the local Falun Gong practice sites to learn while more people quietly watched the demonstration and listened to practitioners' truth clarification. Some people told practitioners that they had seen Falun Gong in various local parades before.
Besides telling tourists the facts of Falun Gong, practitioners also clarified the truth to booth vendors. One practitioner spent nearly three hours visiting all the people in the booths and presenting them with Falun Gong introductory materials. Every booth owner was very happy to accept Falun Gong information and patiently listened to the practitioner's truth clarification. They were also very surprised upon learning that practitioners volunteered their time to teach Falun Gong for free, and many of them highly commended practitioners' effort. The owner of the next booth invited practitioners to teach Falun Gong in their community centre during the summer. Practitioners also tried their best to help other vendors, watching their booths when they were not around temporarily.
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