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.