LIVINGSTON, NJ — Combining two annual celebrations from Livingston and West Orange into one powerful event focusing on the themes of unity and harmony, the Livingston Youth Appreciation Committee, West Essex YMCA, Livingston Committee for Diversity and Inclusion (LCDI), and West Orange resident Carl Brister, an R&B/Pop recording artist, will present the Love+Unity Diversity Fest on Saturday, Sept. 29

This uplifting festival, which combines Livingston’s annual Diversity Festival with Brister’s Love+Unity Fest, will feature family-friendly cultural and musical performances, food and fun. The Township of Livingston and the West Essex YMCA will co-host the event with an open invitation to residents of neighboring towns and communities.

According to LCDI, the Livingston Diversity Festival has been a highlight of Youth Appreciation Week in May for the past six years—growing in attendance from fewer than 100 people in its first year to nearly 1,000 in 2017—with the intent of showcasing and sharing the diverse cultures of Livingston’s residents. 

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In September 2016, Brister (of Agape Music Works, LLC) brought together artists of diverse musical genres to inspire unity in West Orange through music. This event was created in response to acts of violence and brutality toward marginalized people throughout the country.  Since then, Brister has been committed to presenting The Love+Unity Fest annually as a way to bring people together in love through music. 

"I feel the message of Love and Unity is needed now more than ever before,” said Brister. “But I truly believe that ‘love never fails,’ and as a singer/songwriter, I know that music has always been a great unifier bringing together people of all backgrounds, races, and cultures. So I'm honored to work with LCDI as well as West Essex YMCA this year as we expand the message of Love+Unity from West Orange to residents of Livingston and beyond."

LCDI chair Susan Berkenbush also expressed her excitement in collaborating with Brister this year.

“Diversity is appreciation for our differences, but inclusion celebrates our common humanity,” she said. “Our hope is that the Love+Unity Diversity Fest creates a sense of inclusion, support and harmony that attendees want to carry home with them and pay forward.”

The program will include cultural dance performances by local groups and music featuring the following artists:

Xan - R&B/Island Caribbean

Provenance - Gospel 

Nestor Martinez - Latin 

Lynette Sheard - Jazz / Blues 

What's Black Is White - Rock/Funk

Carl Brister - R&B/Pop/Inspirational

The Love+Unity Diversity Fest will be held at the West Essex YMCA, located at 321 S. Livingston Avenue in Livingston, from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29 (with a rain date of Sept. 30).

For more information, visit the LCDI Facebook page or contact Livingston_Diversity@verizon.net.