Monday, March 19, 2012


Iris Rising: Phyllis Reed Speaks on Diversity
Educator, therapist, author, and counselor Phyllis Reed shares her thoughts and universal message during her children book signing event at the Little Haiti Cultural Center on February 20, 2012.  
Photos by Carl Juste/IPC 

It was literally and figuratively a depiction of a diverse universe.  I arrived dressed to depict my diverse Island blend of colors and my unique Jamaican multi-cultural styles of Indian long flowing skirt, Chinese
 long decorated silk top and draped with a long beaded silk scarf.

It was Big Night in Little Haiti at the hauntingly beautiful Little Haiti Cultural Center.  I discovered the Center in December last year and it immediately became my best cultural find as I was mesmerized by the beautiful Haitian Art mural that adorned the entrance.  The grandeur of the structure with its art and photo exhibits of every kind.  It is truly something to behold, too well kept a secret in multi-cultural Miami.

Back to Big Night, the 3rd Friday of every month, I arrived exactly at 6:00 pm for my book reading which was slated for 6:30 to be followed by book signing 7:oo-8:oo pm.  On arriving I was caught by surprise at the large crowd of hundreds that lined the sidewalks and around the mural as two bands played on.  The crowd was orderly and the atmosphere radiant and relaxed.   I was greeted by everyone with wide loving smiles giving me the impression that they all knew me.  It felt great, I was home among friends.

My dear friend Prima decorated the table with my books, tapes, Cd’s, cards- it showed the skilled professional artist she is.  In the meantime, I greeted the 25-30 children and their parents as they assembled in the boardroom for my reading of One Diverse Universe, my recently published children’s book, that is getting rave reviews.  I established a relaxed, interactive threshold by talking with the parents and children before I began to read.


 The children were at rapt attention, as they listened to what I had to say I began to read from One Diverse Universe.   It was a diverse group of Haitians, Jamaicans and other Caribbean Islanders, Hispanics from many countries and cultures, white and black Americans and Europeans, among who was by friend Anna from Estonia and her toddler Miles. Before I started to read I exhorted the parents to read to their kids
from early in their lives to instill the virtues of reading. 

As I read I explained the oneness of all mankind, I identified the beauty in the diverse mixture in plants, foods, animals; and uniqueness and similarity in humankind of all races, cultures, religions, nationalities, languages and occupations.  The children answered questions about professions they will hold in the future, some wanted to write books, yes they become what they see.

It was a small diverse group but beauty, harmony and love was seen and felt.  In appreciation one parent wanted to know what prompted me to write One Diverse Universe.   I got choked up for the first time in the evening as I identified my love for children and wanting to help them navigate successfully as they soar upwards in life.  The answer for addressing bullying was well received by the nodding of heads as were the admonitions to “spread peace not war, love not hate, shake hands not clench fists, say nothing bad, let something good be said instead.”

It was an awesome night among new found family and above all…the children and dear friends who drop by to give support such as Otto and Carl Juste  with some of his students who snapped away as I read.

One Diverse group, caring, sharing, giving, supporting in love, peace, harmony and Oneness – children of all ages. 

- Phyllis Reed