Residents will have the opportunity to experience multiple cultures in one location Thursday as Elizabethtown Community and Technical College hosts Lighting Our Way to Diversity.
The multicultural event will be from 11 .m. to 3 pm at the college, primarily in the courtyard and room 112 and the Morrison Gallery of the James S. Owen (JSO) Humanities Building.
Though the fair officially kicks off at 11 am with an opening message from Jerisia Lamons, director of cultural diversity at the college, at 10 am folks will be able to enjoy a Toy Box Tales from Around the World experience as the Toy Box Theater puts on a show The Toy Box Theater was started at ECTC in 1998 by professor Katrina Eicher.
Lamons said the show will be about 45 minutes, that it’s interactive and student-driven.
“These are our actual theater students who are performing in this and they are receiving credit for the performance,” she said.
At 11:30 am, Lady G of Dangriga, Belize, will share facts about her culture and may even treat attendees to a cultural dance. Kevin Parrett, an ECTC professor, also wants to be on hand to talk about opportunities to study abroad.
From noon to 1 pm, YAPA, a multicultural band from Louisville will perform in the courtyard. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch and blanket and enjoy the show. The six-person ensemble represents many diverse cultures through music and dance, Lamons said.
“We are praying and crossing our fingers for no rain,” she said.
Additionally, ECTC’s Culinary Arts Department will be providing tasty sweet treats from around the globe. Local diverse food vendors will also be providing samples courtesy of the Elizabethtown Police Department.
From 1 to 2 pm, there will be an anime break and cultural diversity work study that students Jalisa Reynolds and Elijah Lozano will lead a mixture of cultural games.
Then from 2 to 3 pm, attendees can enjoy Yahweh Dance, an inspirational youth dance team from Vine Grove. They have performed spiritual dances at local NAACP events, churches, and other community events.
“I really wanted to bring them here because they are young and I love that exposure they are getting to the college community as well. They are really awesome,” Lamons said.
Additionally, throughout the day participants will have the opportunity to visit tables representing various cultures, including the Seneca Nation, Japan, China, Appalachia, and more. Folks are welcome to view the tables anytime during fair hours. Lamons said their Japanese School will be making bookmarks and teaching participants how to write their name in Japanese.
Chef Maria Bell will also have a food truck set up during the event.
All activities of the day are free and open to the public.
Lamons said the multicultural event was spearheaded by Reynolds and Lozano.
“This was their brain child. When they first came to me in the fall this was their very first idea that they wanted to do,” she said. “They have really displayed professionalism and just really pulled all this together. They’ve done a good job selecting different things that are going to keep people interested and interacting. I’m just really proud of my students.”
ECTC’s Office of Cultural Diversity, ECTC’s Culinary Arts Department, EPD, and Bellevue University partnered to make the event happen.
“We all worked very hard on this project,” she said.
Lamons encouraged the community to come out and gain exposure to the different cultures.
“I think exposure is important. I think exposure to different cultures breathes the empathy that we are all sometimes lacking in the world. … These aren’t just things you read in books, these are actual peoples’ lives, their cultures, their ethnicities, and they’re important to them. The more that we value that the more we build empathy and understanding of each other.”