We are Better Together!
“We Are Better Together”
By Tyrelle Lee
Human Development and Family Studies Major, expected graduation, Dec. 2018
It was a pleasure witnessing our fellow agencies come together at the Unity Festival and Walk to celebrate the diverse cultures of Greensboro on a Saturday in the middle of August. At 10am, the Unity Walk featuring immigrant and refugee groups based in our area was organized by a local nonprofit, FaithAction International House. While walking the streets of Downtown Greensboro, a peaceful rally ensued with powerful gestures, including “We are stronger together!” In the face of barriers and adversity, solidarity among our North Carolina diversity was felt through the message, “All are welcome here”!
The Unity Festival started at 12pm at Lebauer Park and continued for the remainder of the event. Foods from around the world were provided and rhythmic dances significant to ethnic traditions were performed. International vendors were able to share culture and tradition to festival goers with promotional materials about local resources and assistance. CNNC’s vendor table served homemade, Sudanese food samples free to the public. At the CNNC table, I worked to recruit volunteers in the call for social change and share general information about CNNC’s work in the community. There are endless opportunities for volunteering, including helping to build mentoring relationships with newcomer youth, providing English instruction to adults, employment coaching through AmeriCorps, and much more!
The festival was my first professional day as an intern at the Center for New North Carolinians. I was already familiar with the newcomer community in Greensboro, which made me more enthusiastic about engaging with various organizations who serve different cultural backgrounds. My hope was to gain a sense of awareness about the goals and activities that are initiated in hands-on civic engagement. I explored how to advocate successfully for change in a community to make the conditions more equitable for immigrant/refugee families.
It was an important opportunity of assessing the values of CNNC with respect to my own values, such as cultural competence, human dignity, social justice, and empowerment. Some of my favorite moments from the event were interacting with the diverse populations we serve at the CNNC and watching the youth we serve perform traditional rhythmic dance. I met immigrant/refugee youth who identify as Congolese, Sudanese, as well as Montagnard. I learned that when various ethnic groups come together under a common goal, a sense of reciprocity and trust is initiated.