By Joan Ellison, Pelican Multicultural Committee
In 2018, the Pelican Rapids Multicultural Committee began an experiment which became a tradition – diversity dinners at the Library on the last Sunday of the month.
Like a traditional Minnesota pot luck, people brought food from home to share – some even brought a hot dish or Jello, but others brought German sauerkraut, Bosnian pita, Somali rice, Greek baklava, Mexican tacos, or Indian candy.
The people at these gatherings were as diverse as the food; young and old, Caucasian, Hispanic and Black. As people began to appreciate each other conversations ranged from getting to know you questions to discussions on housing, jobs, soccer, family and school. Along the way, we became friends, built community.
When Covid-19 threatened and then swept through our country, people retreated to their homes, to their nuclear families. Even with precautions, we lost friends, neighbors, important parts of our community. Sixteen months later, with many people vaccinated and people more aware of precautions they can take to prevent further spread of the virus, things are opening up; people greet each other with “I’m vaccinated, can I have a hug?”
It is time to bring back old traditions.
On Sunday, July 25 at 5:00 p.m. the Pelican Rapids Multicultural Committee invites everyone to come together – to make new friends and re-form bonds.
Bring food to share and join your neighbors at Peterson Park for a picnic – to celebrate our diversity, our lives, our release from solitude, our community. We’ll provide beverages, plates, cups and utensils (or you can bring your own.)
These informal get-togethers are opportunities to discover our similarities, appreciate our differences, build meaningful relationships, examine our biases, and eat good food. It’s difficult for most of us to step outside our circle of family and friends. That’s why we suggest that everyone bring a friend and a dish to share.
Community is built one smile, one interaction at a time. Not all communities welcome people who differ from their norm. Pelican Rapids does. These diversity dinners offer us opportunity to create connections, to come together as a community, and enjoy some very good food.