‘Differences are beautiful:’ Darien children share wishes for inclusivity
A movement that encourages inclusivity and diversity that’s quickly spreading across the nation — and the world — is also felt by local children.
This was reflected in several dozen wishes expressed by children who attended last month’s peaceful children’s art walk for inclusivity in Darien.
As part of the art walk, children were asked to think about a wish they have for the town or for the world.
Volunteers wrote down the children’s wishes on “wish flags,” which were prepared in a community art program.
At the event, children, as well as event organizers, read some of the wishes out loud. Flags and ribbons were hung on “wishing trees” near Darien Town Hall.
“The ribbons were actually prepared by our team in advance of the event, hoping to inspire participants with messages of hope and solidarity,” said Diane Urban, one of the event organizers.
In total, children expressed about 30 different wishes. Urban said the children’s wishes were “sweet and honest.”
Many were displayed on the tree for one week after the art walk. Additionally, wishes were submitted to an Instagram account —@childrensartwalk — that the event organizers set up.
Darien resident Sunaina Sridharan was at the walk with her 9-year-old daughter, Avani Vijay.
“My daughters and nieces all made art work for the event,” Sridharan said. “My daughter Avani wrote that she hopes for kids of all colors to laugh and play in the playground together.”
Aditi Sidhartha of Orange, Sridharan’s 11-year-old niece, wrote a wish that said, “We have to stand up against those who are mean to others.”
Nine-year-old Anushka Sidhartha, also of Orange, said, “Everybody should be included, no matter how they look, and they should be treated kindly.”
Children’s wishes from the wish flags include:
Be kind always
1,000 blankets for people
An equal future
Help one another
A better world
For everyone to be kind
Wishes from the ribbons include:
Lead with love
We are together
Follow your heart
Differences are beautiful
Let’s teach each other
‘Moment into a movement’
Sridharan said she would like to turn the art walk moment into a movement.
“Given the current COVID situation, I hope that the kids at the art walk have play dates — at least over Zoom or Skype — and start talking, learning about and embracing diverse cultures,” she said.
The art walk organizers and planners will be regrouping to plan the next steps. Urban said she would like to see more inclusivity events in Darien.
“We all hope that this is just the beginning and that we cannot only foster friendships and support among the children in our community, but also find other ways to help make Darien feel inclusive to all,” she said.
Sridharan said adults can learn many valuable lessons from children.
“They have no bias, and such an open and clean slate,” she said. “I hope the kids’ messages of hope paves the way towards a more warm, vibrant and inclusive Darien.”