The Gathering Place celebrates multiculturalism of Tulsa

The Kripalaya Dance Academy performs a traditional Indian dance. (Photo by Mariia Shevchenko) 

On July 28, the Gathering Place held its event “Global Gatherings: Celebrating the World!” at the ONEOK Boathouse. 

The event began with a performance by the Kripalaya Dance Academy, who danced traditional South Asian dance. Then there was a story time from the book “Cora Cooks Pancit,” about a young girl cooking a Filipino dish.  

Bailey Adkinson, manager for Education Program at the Gathering Place, said, “Global Gatherings was a 13-week program. Each week, we celebrated a different world region, so there were many cultures represented throughout the event series. Filipino, Chuukese, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, Ugandan, Hmong, Hawaiian, Mexican, and Peruvian are some cultures that were represented, just to name a few.” 

Next, the St. Bernard’s Catholic Church San Lorenzo Group performed a Filipino dance with candles, which helped fishermen find their way back to land. Later, the San Lorenzo Youth Group presented a traditional Filipino dance with bamboo sticks.  

The Kaajhuab Hmong Dance Team performed Hmong dance. Lastly, Jaziel from 918 Latin Dance discussed with the children in the audience the history of salsa, touching upon both the salsa sauce and the origin of salsa from enslaved Yoruba on the island of Cuba and New York. She also performed a Rueda salsa dance lesson for the kids in the audience.  

Adkinson said on the impact of how the event was organized, “We first sent out an all-call to the community asking for individuals to respond if they were interested in representing their culture during this program. We then reached out to those who responded to confirm how they wanted to highlight their culture, whether it was through food, dance, music, art, storytelling, or a hands-on activity. We then coordinated with them on logistical event details and supported them with the resources they needed to provide their cultural experience to guests here at the park.” 

Families had an ample choice of crafts, which included the Community Wishing Wall, Brazilian Carnival Masks, Polar Freeze – Explore Climate Regions of the World, Paper Mache Realia, Pancit Craft, Neo-Embroidery Interactive Demonstration, and Arabic Calligraphy.   

Attendees were offered food samples, which included Globe Cookies by Cookiedoodle, Puto (steamed rice cake) by Manila Ice, Tequeños by Matea’s Kitchen, Cake Pops by Sugar Rose, and a Three Meat Puerto Rican Sandwich by The Yummy’s.  

Overall, Adkinson seeks to “work towards our mission of being a “park for all,” a place where the entire Tulsa community feels welcome. We wanted to offer the park as a space for individuals and groups to share their culture with others and showcase the amazing cultural diversity that exists in our city. We felt that the Global Gatherings program was a great way to do just that!” 

More information about the Global Gatherings can be found on the Gathering Place website.  

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