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AliveJune2016

j u n e 2 0 1 6 A L I V E E A S T B A Y 19 THE ORIGIN OF CINCO DE MAYO The issue of “bullying” found voice when children joined actors to enact the May 5, 1862, Battle of Puebla, which is why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated today. The children portrayed the Mexican citizen soldiers who defeated the much larger and elite French army, represented by giant eight-foot puppets. But that “army” couldn’t overcome the children who locked arms and found strength chanting, “Doubt and fear make us small; love and courage make us tall!” A little known history is that the French army had been planning to travel north and support Confederate troops against Union forces in the U.S. Civil War. Had they succeeded in this battle, their support of the Confederacy might have changed the outcome of the Civil War. PURPOSE OF THE DAY This novel Cinco de Mayo event was presented by Francis in the Schools, a nonprofit group based in Walnut Creek that offers this new form of nonsectarian education for children from underserved neighborhoods. The program was founded in 2011 by Dr. Carol Weyland Conner as a way to nourish feelings of love, kindness, courage, and brotherhood in these children. This was the 20th time the program has been presented, having been staged for a total of 10,000 children in cities including Oakland, New York, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. Over 350 volunteers work for months to prepare and stage each event. The entire day—from the bus rides through the play, lunch, activities, and flowers— is offered free to the children and participating schools. IMPACT After these Francis in the Schools events, children have written: “I will never forget this day.” . . . “This was the most wonderful day of my life.”. . . “I felt like a king, a cool king!” One educator wrote: “It was a magical day of beauty and learning and is a potentially life-changing event in the lives of our children. You provided our community with a wonderful combination of spiritual, historical, and cultural activities that will have a lasting impact.”


AliveJune2016
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