‘Feast of all the senses’: Oneworld multicultural festival celebrates diversity and encourages respect – Penticton News

Casey Richardson

Displays of diverse traditions, dance, food, art and entertainment return to the Penticton Lakeside Resort on Saturday for the Oneworld Multicultural Festival.

Hosted by the South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services (SOICS) organization, 35 countries were represented at the event.

“Part of it is really the celebration that we have. An opportunity to share our culture and learn from each other and that happens in so many different ways here,” said executive director Cheri Fernandez.

She describes the event as a “feast of all the senses”.

“You have the performances and you hear the sounds, and you see these incredible colors and visuals. And then you can have the other side of it too, where you can smell and taste all these flavors from around the world.”

“Truly, there is no better way to bring people together than through food and entertainment.”

The event is a celebration of the diversity that resides throughout the South Okanagan Similkameen.

“It’s not as obvious when you go to its larger urban communities, for example, where you see large agglomerations and ethnic groups. But here, we absolutely have diversity. SOICS itself is a compromise organization, we Serving customers that represent more than 110 cultures and countries and regions.

While the festival serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of diversity in the region, Fernandez said it is also about giving everyone a sense of being able to share their culture within the community.

“There are many challenges here, whether you are coming here and settling here and choosing to do so or have been displaced because of what is happening in your own country,” he said.

“So to be able to come here and have that platform where you can share about your experience, you can share about your culture, and also your journey of coming to Canada, it really gives people that Helps build bonds to create a sense of belonging in their new home.

Fernandez said the Oneworld festival is just one part of curating a truly accepting community.

“Canada itself, when we look at First Nations, there are so many nations that make up Turtle Island and Canada has welcomed so many newcomers, it’s made up of immigrants. It’s one way we’ve been able to recognize this and hope to continue to do better to ensure that in the future, we’re really keeping an awareness of what we can do as a society .

The festival is also gearing up for a bigger event this May – Confronting the White Elephant, an anti-racist community forum.

“What that really looks like is giving people the tools to recognize what racism is. And then when faced with it, what can be done? How can I make sure that our community is inclusive of people of all backgrounds? be more welcoming, inclusive and equitable for all people?” Fernandez said.

Fernandez said she hoped people would leave the event feeling inspired and with a renewed curiosity about other cultures.

“He had the opportunity to meet people, and begin to build that sense of respect and mutual understanding, and to be really proud that we have diversity here in the South Okanagan, and given that I want to make sure What can I do to keep our communities welcoming, inclusive and even more equitable?

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