Everyone is different, but we’re on the same team; everyone’s important, and has their own dreams; if we work together, there’s nothing to lose; how we treat each other is something we choose.
The Davenport North High Chamber Choir sang these lyrics Sunday as anti-bullying mascot Pete the Purple Bull made his debut at the Unity Fest International at the Putnam Museum.
Pete vows to help make bullying a thing of the past as he spreads Q-C United’s anti-bully campaign throughout the Quad-Cities. The mere mention of bullying makes Pete wipe away tears with his fuzzy purple paw.
“Pete’s introduction to the world began as a concept from last year’s Unity Festival. We wanted to create an anti-bullying message, so we had local artist, Glorie Iacarrino, design T-shirts that portrayed this new character, Pete the Purple Bull,” Kim Riley, Q-C United, said.
“Then, we just decided that Pete needed to come to life, so here he is with his new campaign to teach children about acceptance and bullying,” Riley added.
The North High Chamber Choir practiced Pete’s song and introductory dance for the past week.
“Pete’s song makes me feel like a little kid again,” choir member Spencer Peachee, 15, said.
Even Davenport Major Bill Gluba came out to welcome Pete to the Quad-Cities.
“We need to reach kids when they are young and impressionable — Pete is the perfect way to do this. Hopefully, Pete will create sensitivity to others as kids identify with his anti-bullying message,” said Gluba, who plans to give Pete an official welcome in the coming months at Davenport City Hall.
Children lined up to get their picture taken with Pete.
Addison Moeller, 7, a student at Hoover Elementary School in Bettendof, was all smiles after posing with her new purple friend. “Pete will help teach kids that bullying is bad,” she said.
In addition to Pete’s debut, the Unity Fest International was a free multicultural celebration with culturally inspired food tastings and performances representing various cultures, including Native American drumming, Hispanic ballet folkloric, Imani dancers, Philippine American performing artists, Fiyah (a Rock Island reggae band), children’s puppet show (by Casa Guanajuanto), Celtic piper and dancer and Friends of India.
Neida Marquez has danced with the Quad-City Ballet Folkloric for the past four years. Marquez, 11, a student at Glenview Middle School in East Moline, was dressed in a long white dress and a red flower in her hair to represent the state of Veracruz, Mexico.
“I hope my dance will help to teach people about another culture.”