First Lincoln Unites! festival celebrates strength of diversity
Lincoln did indeed unite this past weekend in a new festival celebrating the city’s vibrant mix of cultures with activities for all ages. If you missed the day’s African drumming, henna tattoos, delicious food, and moving citizenship ceremony, read on for a vicarious experience and mark your calendar to watch for the 2nd annual event next spring!
The day began with 29 new Americans taking their oath of citizenship. Mayor Chris Beutler read a city proclamation affirming Lincoln’s commitment to continue fostering a welcoming environment for all residents – including immigrants – in order to create a stronger community for all. Judge John Gerrard asked the new citizens to keep their heritage, teach their children multiple languages, cherish their customs, and add to the richness of the United States.
Following the ceremony, Lincoln community members celebrated together with live music, dance and interactive activities. Performances included Afro-Caribbean music, Folklorica dancers, Karen dancers, African drummers, Peruvian music and more local talent. When the Kurdish band played, dancers of all ages filled the dance floor.
Booths ranged from fun to informative. Families, children, and neighbors of all backgrounds could interact with a variety of cultural traditions as they learned African drumming or stopped by the photo booth, food carts, and other activities. The UNL Define American Chapter asked people to define what it means to be American, and Nebraska Is Home talked with people about what they could do to welcome new friends.
Lincoln Unites! media coverage:
Whereas, Lincoln has long been recognized as a hospitable and welcoming place where people, families and institutions thrive and the contributions of all are celebrated and valued; and
Whereas, Lincoln is a refugee resettlement community and has been recognized nationally for its welcoming efforts;
Whereas, Lincoln is committed to continue building a welcoming and neighborly atmosphere in our community, where all are welcome, accepted and integrated; and
Whereas, fostering a welcoming environment for all individuals, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or place of origin, enhances Lincoln’s cultural fabric, economic growth, global competitiveness and overall prosperity for current and future generations; and
Whereas, Lincoln is committed to creating an environment that is receptive to immigrants and that strategically positions our Star City as a globally competitive 21st century leader
It is hereby decreed on this 30th day of April, 2016, that Lincoln, Nebraska is a Welcoming City that embraces a rich diverse culture with acceptance and inclusion.