In truth, our hometown’s people-look has never before been so diverse.
Doubters need only look around.
See the faces. Hear the accents. Appreciate the languages. Observe the cultures.
For those whose lives aren’t regularly exposed to these differences through work, church, school, neighborhood or social experience — but who want to learn and to benefit from them — you have a unique opportunity.
It is the seventh annual Multicultural Fair. Scheduled for this Saturday, April 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium on the Cleveland State Community College campus, this splendid celebration is open to the public. And, it is free of charge.
One of the event’s most colorful and celebratory moments, the Parade of Nations, will launch the festive day at 9:45 a.m. The Opening Ceremony will kick off at 10 a.m., and will include an African Traditional Dress Fashion Show and Native Tongues Welcome.
What is the purpose of the Multicultural Fair? That’s an easy one. As we suggested, our Cleveland and Bradley County community is becoming more and more diverse. New people are arriving every day and with them they bring a plethora of customs, cultures and beliefs. Subsequently, such a fair is intended to celebrate this growing, and blessed, wave of new faces, fresh ideas and interesting perspectives.
In the words of Jana Pankey, assistant professor of the Human Services/Social Work program and project director at Cleveland State, “Cleveland is becoming more diverse, and this is a great way to learn about different cultures and celebrate diversity.”
To learn from others, to appreciate their ways and mannerisms, and to compare their beliefs to our own — especially all who are proud to be Bradley County natives — are all reasons to drop by Cleveland State for this golden opportunity.
Who can benefit? Everyone.
Who should attend? Anyone who wants to learn more about the people changes in this community and why so many cultures are being drawn to Cleveland.
Is it a family event? Most certainly. All members of the family, and any age group, should plan to attend. The younger our children are exposed to international experiences — right here in their own hometown — the more prepared, and comfortable, they will become with change.
Who is the guest ... the Multiculural Fair exhibitors or the community attendees? Both. Event participants are there to meet and greet, but area residents will be doing the same. It’s all about learning of the change around us, but even more it’s about appreciating that change.
The fair will feature a world of opportunity. Alongside the Parade of Nations and the festive Opening Ceremony, the fair will spotlight culturally based entertainment, diverse food catered from Food Is Good of Cleveland, international studies information, and exhibits highlighting different nationalities, children’s games and activities, various civic and social service organization displays, performances by Mawre and Company African Dance and Drum Troupe, St. Therese Spanish Youth Dances, the Cleveland State Chorus and Vocal Rhapsody.
Picture this. It’s a three-hour World’s Fair all under the same roof and one that is dedicated to the people of Cleveland and Bradley County, and to those who are moving into Cleveland and Bradley County.
Tracey Wright, director of Special Programs and Community Relations at CSCC, probably said it best when she observed this truth, “One can’t help but learn something by attending this event.”
And by the way, don’t forget about the accompanying Amateur Cultural Photography Contest. It is open to students, community members, youth, faculty and staff. Each contestant can submit up to three photographs, one per cartegory. The five categories include The Americana Experience, Natural Beauty, Impressions from Abroad, Manmade Beauty and Hope for the Future.
Entry deadline is Friday, March 28. The top 25 entries will be displayed at the Multicultural Fair.
For more information on submissions and to learn the contest rules, visit csccphoto.wordpress.com.
For more info about the fair itself, contact Wright at 423-473-2341 or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cleveland State Community College is a gift to all — to students young and old, to social service and civic cause, to local business and industry, and most importantly, to those who call Cleveland and its surroundings areas their home.
We encourage all to attend the Multicultural Fair.
It’s about people. It’s about places. It’s about us.