Over 14,000 people joined Governor Jerry Brown Saturday afternoon in a California "celebration of the whales," to direct attention to the killing of the marine mammals by Japanese and Russian industries.
"If you want to save something," said Brown, who sponsored the event, "a good way to do it is to celebrate it."
Held at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, the day-long event featured exhibits, lectures, films and entertainment by several pop artists including Joni Mitchell, Country Joe MacDonald, John Sebastian and Fred Neil.
A poetry reading by Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Snyder was followed by the showing of the film "The Great Right Whales," a documentary on the life of the endangered species, still hunted by about 14 nations.
Also appearing was Dr. Paul Strong of the Canadian "Greenpeace" foundation which has led efforts to save the whale from extinction. Strong's address was preceded by Stan Minassian's Emmy award winning film, "Last Days of the Dolphins."
The cost of the Sacramento gathering was estimated at $16,000, provided in full by contributions.
Celebration contributors included Dow Chemicals and Macy's Department Stores who donated several thousand dollars.
In addition, Honda, Toyota and Datsun, three major firms who have been targets of the ban on Japanese goods, put up $500 apiece.
Brown was warmly received by the audience who paid $4 each to attend the evening's festivities.
"As mammals, their survival is somewhat symbolic of our own," Brown said Saturday to the whale enthusiasts.
"We are taking this day where people who are interested in whales can celebrate them through music, talk, discussion and films," Brown said, adding that when Californians assemble in support of the whale, "other people are watching."
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