You don’t have to be in Atlanta city-proper to experience diversity and inclusion in Georgia. The small community of Clarkston comes together every year to celebrate their various cultures. On a sunny Saturday in April, the 2018 Clarkston Culture Fest welcomed all with a parade, food, entertainment, and a Culture Village. All of the day’s activities embodied the festival theme of “Educate, Appreciate, Celebrate”.  

The Culture Village showcased the regions of the world represented at the festival, like Africa and Asia.Natives of each region, now Clarkston residents, explained the foods, traditions, clothing, and languages of their culture to festival goers. The row of open-ended tents encouraged people to get to know others within the community. It gave people the opportunity to ask questions of other’s diverse behaviors and traditions for a greater understanding of one another.

Culture Village booth focusing on the Bhutanese community)

Aside from the Culture Village, there was no shortage of entertainment to appreciate. People watched live performances from local musicians and artists on stage. Children had room to run, play, and even bounce around the Kids Zone in the James R. Hallford Stadium. Local vendor booths were at the event to sell their craft, which gave festival goers a chance to shop and support local artisans. The vendor booths also included city organizations, such as Friends of Refugees, to further educate people on inclusive programs for diverse cultures.

Kids Zone in the James R. Hallford Stadium hosting the festival

“I’ve met a lot of interesting people today and I feel welcome here,” expressed Seema, a refugee from Afghanistan specializing in threading. “I’m thankful to be here,” she explained before tending to another patron. Seema patiently showed a shopper the traditional ways one could wear a garment of clothing she created. Their kind interaction mirrored the many exchanges of education, appreciation, and celebration among others at the festival.

The Clarkston Community Fest theme, “Educate, Appreciate, Celebrate”, are simple words with great possibilities for making a big social impact. No neighborhood, community, or borough is too small to establish a welcoming, inclusive environment.

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