Lehigh Valley

Potluck and politics collide in Allentown

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Maybe you've heard the expression -- when in doubt, have a potluck.

A group called Lehigh Valley For All did just that Wednesday night, but with a purpose. The group said there are too many divisions among people and it wanted to do something about it by inviting people together to break bread at Iglesia Jesuscristo Pentecostal in Allentown.

"Republican or Democrat, Christian or Muslim, black or white -- it doesn't matter. Americans of all stripes enjoy a good meal," LVFA President David Harrington said in a press release.

The event was open to anyone, and attendees were encouraged to celebrate the region's diversity by bringing and sharing food that reflected their own cultural roots. It also featured music and door prizes. The environment was jovial as conversations and laughter could be heard throughout the church's basement.

Lehigh Valley for All hosted the event in association with the American Civil Liberty Union's Cooking-with-a-Hyphen. Harrington told WFMZ.com that the "hyphen" is representative of how some people use a descriptive adjective or noun in conjunction with the word "American." One of the goals of the event was to have attendees interact with one another through a random drawing. They would be encouraged to follow up with their new friend after the event concluded, so that any momentum established in getting to know someone different would not dissipate due to time or lethargy.

"We are all stronger together," said Harrington in describing the evening's goal.

Lehigh Valley for All did not have this event last year ... because Lehigh Valley For All did not exist at this time last year. The election of President Donald Trump served as a clarion call of opposition for progressives and liberals who formed the group. Today, its members routinely gather either in person, or on social media to criticize President Trump. In addition, they participate in organized rallies and marches that oppose a conservative political agenda. Lehigh Valley For All also advances a politically progressive and liberal philosophy through individuals and organizations who will effectuate progressive policies in their communities, according to its website.

Examples of Lehigh Valley For All's political agenda were on display Wednesday night. At one Lehigh Valley For All table recruiting new members, bumper stickers advocated the impeachment of President Trump. Another table served as a voter registration center to mobilize and expand the liberal  vote. Another table was occupied by the ACLU.

The dinner also attracted elected local Democrats, including Allentown City Councilman Julio Guridy and Whitehall Township President Phillips Armstrong. It also garnered the presence of several candidates, including Amy Zanelli, a candidate for Lehigh County Commissioner from the third district, and Mark Pinsley, a candidate for South Whitehall Township commissioner -- both Democrats.

Other groups participating in the event where the greater Lehigh Valley chapter of the ACLU; the Hispanic American Organization; the Indian American Association of the Lehigh Valley; the Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley; YWCA Allentown; Grace Episcopal Church Allentown; and Jesuscristo Pentecostal.

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