By Simone Edwards, Staff Writer — This recent presidential election may have left you with a lot of questions. What defines a Republican versus a Democrat? Do black lives matter? What is the nation of Islam? Do votes truly matter? While it will be difficult to answer all of these questions at once, there’s an event that strives to put some of these topics into perspective.

Celebration of Differences is an event that was inspired by the recent presidential election. Alexis Willis, Lexi Bogarth and Ashley Baldwin were discouraged by the polarization of the nation, and after noticing hateful words and messages on social media, they decided to do something about it. They planned Celebration of Differences with hopes that the event will incite collaboration and transparent conversations about cultural, faith and political differences.

Lexi Bozarth, one of the founders of the event, hopes to encourage individuals to stand for the things that they are passionate about while simultaneously learning and encouraging others about what they’re passionate about.

“We all have differences and these differences make us unique and help us tell our story,” Bozarth explained. “We all have different upbringings and cultural backgrounds, and we also have had good and bad things happen in our lives that shape our passions. All of these elements of who we are should be celebrated and should promote the celebration of others.”

The event is open to anyone passionate enough to come. It will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Camp House on ML King Boulevard, explained by Bozarth to be “Chattanooga’s living room,” and will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

While the event is open to the public and everyone is welcome, Bozarth particularly encourages college students to attend.

“College is a crazy time in life where you leave the nest and start coming up with your own ideas about your faith, political views and so on. This is an incredible opportunity to learn and be heard by individuals that think like you and some that may not,” Bozarth said. “This is a safe environment to ask others about where they stand on different issues with the promise that there will be no disrespect or shame placed on you for your questions or beliefs.”

Whether you’re still coming up with your own ideas about your faith or political beliefs, or you simply have a few questions, Celebration of Differences is a free event where you can celebrate your differences and maybe learn a thing or two.

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