By Jill Finkelson
This week, we gained 174 New Americans in the state of North Dakota. They come from 46 different countries around the world and became citizens of the United States at the Sanctuary Event Center in downtown Fargo.
As our communities grow and become more diverse, not just here in Fargo but across the United States, there’s a movement to welcome our new neighbors and bring them into the fold. One of these organizations is Welcoming Week USA and our local chapter, Welcoming Week FM. For the sixth year and they are spending a week in September hosting potlucks, happy hours, farmers markets and discussions around the area designed for newcomers and locals to come together and get to know each other. To support the effort, Fargo brewing is hosting a happy hour Thursday night and $1 of all pints will go to funding. Beer bringing people together once again!
The week will start with a community Table potluck hosted at the Plains Art Museum. Bring a local dish or one from far away to celebrate neighbors coming together. Following, there will be an international farmers market and a live performance by local hip hop dance troupe, The Krownz.
Saturday morning, the Red River Market will be having international vendors and multicultural foods and guests.
One of the biggest draws to our area is our universities that welcome students from across the globe. MSUM will be hosting ‘RACE: Are we so different?’ In the Livingston library. The exhibit is a collaboration with the YWCA and examines race in America today. The exhibit is put together by the American Anthropological Society and the Science Museum of Minnesota. A discussion will follow. On Thursday, “Forget Who, Learn How” is an examination of the migrant crisis at our southern border. The event is a presentation and discussion by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at Concordia and will be at the Knutson Campus Center.
Take Back the Night, an international event and non-profit with the goal to end sexual violence, will be featured on Wednesday evening at the MSUM CMU. There will be a rally with local speakers and BBQ.
If you would like to volunteer some of your time, the Afro American Development Organization will be at the Carlson Library Wednesday night to showcase the opportunities and best practices locally to teach English.
In addition to the libraries, police forces, and local government, the biggest organizations involved in the week are the New American Consortium for wellness and empowerment, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, and the YMCA. The New American Consortium is a local organization working year-round to teach and empower new Americans. They offer programs ranging from mentoring young adults, teaching English, and job search help. They will be opening up their doors to showcase their work on Friday, the 20th. Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota has relocated most of the refugees that have come to call our state home in the last decade or so. They are hosting the elder potluck on Thursday. Also on Friday, the Fercho YMCA will be open for a free open swim.
To cap off the week, the Fargo Baha'i Faith Community is celebrating The International Day of Peace on Sunday September 22. The multi-faith celebration will include music and narrative. The day designated by the United Nations to strengthen peace and unity around the globe seems a fitting end to a week dedicated to all things local.
For the hundreds of people that come to our little corner of the world every year, it must be a huge transition. Our community is increasingly diverse and interesting and growing by the day. There’s a lot to be proud of here to share with our new neighbors. These events offer an opportunity to not just say hi to a neighbor but shows how to get involved in September and beyond.
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