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Ethnic festival celebrates diversity

Timisha Rhodes, Kansas City, Kan., looked at a world map and participated in a contest during the annual Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival April 12 at Kansas City Kansas Community College. (Staff photo)

The Legends of Diversity Award winners were Melanie Scott, left, festival cofounder, KCKCC professor of social and behavioral sciences and former director of the KCKCC Intercultural Center; and Karen Hernandez, cofounder of the festival and a former KCKCC trustee. (Staff photo)

 

More than 1,000 people turned out Saturday for the ninth annual Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

The festival is an effort to bring together people of different cultures, celebrating diversity and common humanity.

Food, booths, entertainment, music and dancing were part of the festival today. Many cultures were represented, with more than 50 booths and organizations present. The event was held at the college’s field house.

The Legends of Diversity Award was presented to Karen Hernandez, cofounder of the festival, and to Melanie Scott, festival cofounder, KCKCC professor of social and behavioral sciences and former director of the KCKCC Intercultural Center.

The festival is based on Martin Luther King’s ideas of brotherly love, according to an explanation by Hernandez printed in the brochure for the event. It is an opportunity for people to grow in understanding of each other. Hernandez sponsored a Martin Luther King Jr. exhibit at the festival, “Our Beloved Community.”

Scott said she has seen the festival grow from its infancy to 1,500 attendance now.

“People come together – that’s the beauty of it,” she said. “That really is the beauty of diversity.”

She expressed a desire that the appreciation of diversity and brotherhood extend beyond just today, to every day.

The festival featured a children’s corner this year, along with children’s books that were given away, after being coordinated by Hernandez.

“Karen represents the community joining hands with academia,” Scott said, so that together they can offer this festival to the community. The festival also helps promote college’s open-door concept, where everyone is welcome, she said.

Photos by Mary Rupert

 

Alicia Garcia, Kansas City, Kan., right, and Lizeth Obando, Kansas City, Kan., served food at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival April 12 at a booth sponsored by the Good News Church of Kansas City, Kan. (Staff photo)

Hrvatski Obicaj Croatian Orchestra, directed by Rick Mikesic, performed April 12 at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival. (Staff photo)

Hrvatski Obicaj Croatian Orchestra, directed by Rick Mikesic, performed April 12 at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival. (Staff photo)

Hrvatski Obicaj Croatian Orchestra, directed by Rick Mikesic, performed April 12 at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival. (Staff photo)

 

The School of Irish Dance, directed by Bridgid Driscoll, performed April 12 at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival. (Staff photo)

 

The School of Irish Dance, directed by Bridgid Driscoll, performed April 12 at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival. (Staff photo)

The School of Irish Dance, directed by Bridgid Driscoll, performed April 12 at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival. (Staff photo)

The School of Irish Dance, directed by Bridgid Driscoll, performed April 12 at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival. (Staff photo)

The School of Irish Dance, directed by Bridgid Driscoll, performed April 12 at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival. (Staff photo)

 

The NAACP sponsored a booth at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival April 12. At the booth were, left to right, Carolyn Mitchell, Akiya Sharp, Ernestine Smith, and Erickia Grant. The booth was helping with voter registration information. (Staff photo)

Carol Barksdale, left, a KCKCC adjunct, looked at a map of where she lived when her spouse was in the military service, with the help of Christa Kump of the German Edelweiss Society. They were at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival April 12 at KCKCC. (Staff photo)

 

The Unified Government Human Relations Commission sponsored a booth at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival April 12. (Staff photo)

Andrica Wilcoxen, outreach and prevention coordinator of the community outreach counseling program at KCKCC, helped staff a Latin America culture booth April 12 at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival. (Staff photo)

A children’s corner for activities was new at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival April 12. (Staff photo)

A Kansas City, Kan., fire truck was at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival April 12 at KCKCC. (Staff photo)

The Mainstream Coalition sponsored a booth, including some voter registration information, at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival April 12. (Staff photo)

 

There were many cultural booths at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival April 12, including this one about Albania. (Staff photo)

Staffing a booth about Ireland at the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival April 12 were Helen Walsh Folsom, center, a local author, and Bettse Folsom, right. (Staff photo)

 

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