About 400 community members gathered at the Pine Bluff Convention Center for Mayor Shirley Washington’s Unity Breakfast Nov. 10.

The event was open to the community and a diverse group of residents attended, reflecting the mayor’s motto, “One Pine Bluff Stronger Together,” according to a news release.

Local churches, businesses, organizations and youth programs purchased tables for the breakfast. Some of them donated seats for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff students to join their table.

Elise Darton, a student of the Ivy Center for Education, gave the welcoming address. In her opening song, “Beautiful City,” vocalist and guitarist Katie Ferren reminded everyone that people can build such a community.

Lori Walker of the Economic and Community Development recited a poem she wrote about unity for the city. Several pastors from different churches in Pine Bluff spoke about how the common goal for Pine Bluff can only be accomplished if the community unites.

In her closing remarks, Washington discussed her plan to organize a citywide pep rally in 2018. Community members of all ages will come together to uplift and inspire one another to uphold a spirit of excellence and enthusiasm in Pine Bluff.

The breakfast concluded with gospel singer Xavier Clark leading everyone in singing an Acapella version of the song “I Need You To Survive.”

Rice First Class Catering provided a Southern breakfast and Corey Montroy Design created the autumn centerpieces. The mayor’s office will continue to hold two Unity Breakfasts each year to celebrate Pine Bluff’s diverse community. The next one will be in the spring of 2018.