The message being spread in City Park on Sunday afternoon was simple: unity.
“My goal was to create something that would bring everyone together and celebrate what makes the United States of America such a unique place,” said Alex Civil, executive director of Bring the Change. “It’s not about you might have an accent. Or you might be from the Far East. Ultimately, as soon as you are here in this community you are welcomed. Being American does not mean you have to reject your roots.”
The park in Reading was filled with music, laughter and the smell of food as hundreds gathered to celebrate unity at the second annual Berks Cultural Diversity Festival.
“In a time we are seeing such polarization in society and community, we thought it was important to bring together,” said Bill Franklin, president of the Jewish Federation of Reading.
A $5,000 grant from the Berks County Community Foundation and partner organizations such as the Dominican Association of Pennsylvania, the Jewish Federation, the Daniel Torres Hispanic Center, NAACP Reading Branch, LGBTQ Center of Greater Reading, YWCA Tri-County Area, Gambian Association of Reading, Upending Racism, Unity in the Community and Berks Democratic Women helped make Sunday’s event a success.
“This is not my event,” Civil said. “This is our event. Let’s bring the community together. Let’s bring people together to celebrate our differences and what makes us unique.”
Civil could not have been happier how the day turned out.
“When I look around and see the diversity and the people connecting, that’s when people get to connect with one another,” he said. “Ultimately, that’s why we’re doing this.”
People were able to enjoy music and dance, games such as chess, cornhole and dominos and food from a variety of vendors.
“We think it’s important to celebrate one another,” said Patricia Vasquez, president of the Dominican Association. “There’s magic in diversity, and there is so much richness and diversity in Berks County. We just wanted to come together and share our culture and celebrate in unity.”
Civil believed the message of unity is needed now more than ever.
“With the rhetoric that has been occurring in the media and politics for the past decade, it’s a lot about the division and you are different,” Civil said. “But not realizing that the American culture encompasses all these different things.”
The event not only brought people from different cultures and backgrounds together but organizations as well.
“Today has been great,” said said Stacey Taylor, president of the local NAACP. “It’s bringing all of our different cultures and groups together to share what we have as individuals and a community.”
Source: Berkshire mont