By Debra J. White –
“Strength in Unity” was the theme of the second annual Community Cultural Event held on Saturday, March 4, in Mesa. There were displays about Arab culture, Muslim women, and countries from Japan to Algeria to Germany as well as samples of ethnic food. A volunteer from the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona presented a history of Islam supplemented with an informational video.
Organized by Carri Mason, the event’s purpose is to bring diverse people together to celebrate differences. “At last year’s event, people had a longing for more community, for more sharing. They wanted ideas to go home with to implement and make it a better world,” she said.
And that’s just what this year’s event provided. Along with displays about a variety of cultures and food to sample, there was a Hawaiian dance performance and a salsa band. The event was held at a Mormon church.
Nagia Madfai of Chandler, who was born in Libya, presented an exhibit of Arab culture. “The organizers reached out to me to represent the Arab world and I thought it was a wonderful idea.”
Throughout the afternoon, visitors browsed through displays, talking to people, sampling food, and learning about cultures and religions. There were tables scattered around with flyers about random acts of kindness and how to be a good neighbor. One table offered children’s books about culture and kindness. Another table of Arizona State University students represented the university chapter of UNA-USA United, a national advocacy group for refugees. Students handed out information about the group’s efforts.
Tammy from Mesa came to the event because she was curious to learn about other cultures. “I want to learn about what I can do in my own neighborhood,” she said.
Mason, the organizer, was pleased with the afternoon but isn’t sure about next year.