Purcell: Nashville is friendly and welcoming
Gentry: "Nashville looks like it's never looked before... it is great to see you here in peace, love, and unity."
Ethnically, linguistically diverse crowdNashville's Mayor Bill Purcell and Vice Mayor Howard Gentry both touted Nashville as a city of peace, love, diversity, and hospitality from the Broadway stage at the Luis Palau Nashville CityFest yesterday. The comments were made Saturday afternoon as the city officials shared the platform with, and offered the city's welcome to, headliner evangelist Luis Palau.
Mayor Purcell boasted of Nashville being a "friendly" and "welcoming" city. Vice Mayor Gentry said, "Nashville looks like it's never looked before," in an apparent nod to the diversity of the crowd, which was well represented by various ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Asians, caucasians, and indigenous/mestizo Hispanics. "It is great to see you here in peace, love, and unity," continued Gentry to applause. "I want to thank Luis Palau for bringing hope to Nashville," he said.
Prior to the officials' remarks, the seemingly inaccurately named quintet El Trio de Hoy performed in English and Spanish. At one point, the band asked in Spanish, "How many Spanish-speakers do we have here," and received audible applause in response (especially compared to the silence that met the question, "How many of you are from Puerto Rico?"). El Trio de Hoy performs again tonight in Clarksville (details here).
English and Spanish t-shirts in the crowd included references to Bible verses, such as Isaiah 40:31 ("Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint,") and Phillipians 4:13 ("Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalece" - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.")