Palo Alto and Bloomington Celebrate Second Anniversary of Innovative Partnership

Written from press release:

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — Palo Alto, California, and Bloomington, Indiana, will celebrate the second anniversary of their unique partnership through Sibling Cities USA on June 1, 2024. This groundbreaking initiative, led by the Palo Alto-based nonprofit, aims to build bridges between regionally and politically diverse U.S. cities through community-building, commerce, and civil discourse.

The celebration will take place at the Lucie Stern Community Center in Palo Alto and the IMU Frangipani Room in Bloomington, connected via videoconference. The event is open to the public in both cities.

Vicki Veenker, founder of Sibling Cities USA and a member of the Palo Alto City Council, sees this milestone as an opportunity for other cities to consider similar relationships. “Our June 1 events will celebrate the many impactful projects our two cities have undertaken over the last two years,” Veenker said. “We also look forward to other cities joining us in our mission to rediscover the common ground Americans share, despite reports of our polarization.”

Bloomington Program Director Alain Barker emphasized the partnership’s success in leveraging shared values to explore differences and learn from each other. “The goal is to knit our country back together,” said Barker, a senior lecturer at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. “Sibling Cities activities help us move beyond stereotypes and exaggerations. We are proud to lead the way for other municipalities to create connections that will strengthen our country.”

Over the past two years, Palo Alto and Bloomington have held Town Halls via videoconference, hosted delegations, collaborated on a teen essay contest, and fostered connections between Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs. The 2022 kickoff event featured a fireside chat with Cornell William Brooks, former NAACP President and Harvard professor, and remarks from Tara VanDerveer, a Stanford Women’s Basketball coaching legend and Indiana University alumna.

The anniversary events are scheduled as follows:

Bloomington:

  • IMU Frangipani Room
  • Reception at 5:30 p.m.
  • Program at 6:30 p.m.

Palo Alto:

  • Lucie Stern Community Center
  • Music at 3:00 p.m.
  • Program at 3:30 p.m.
  • Reception to follow

For more information or to RSVP, visit here.

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