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Diversity celebrated for 5th Annual Dufferin County Multicultural Day




By Paula Brown

From steel pan drumming to dancing, food and artwork the Dufferin County Multicultural Day Event made a return with a bang this past weekend.

The Dufferin County Multicultural Foundation and the Museum of Dufferin (MoD) hosted the Fifth Annual Dufferin County Multicultural Day Event on June 11, celebrating the diversity within the community.

“It's incredibly humbling experience every time. As much as I host these events, when I actually attend and see how we come together it's honestly so exciting,” said Althea Alli, founder and president of the Dufferin County Multicultural Foundation. “You can see everyone coming together and lifting each other up and how happy everyone is.”

Before the Multicultural Day festivities began the celebration kicked off with a few words from local dignitaries and the raising of the Multicultural Day Flag.

“We have a lot to celebrate in Dufferin County,” said Wade Mills, Warden for the County. “We are, I think it's fair to say, one of the most successful multicultural communities within the province of Ontario, and we became that fairly quickly. What we've been able to accomplish as a county community, I think is nothing short of remarkable.”

The Dufferin County Multicultural Day Event was first organized 2018 and held in the Shelburne Public Library. Alli said the idea for the event came from her own experience moving to the community in 2013 and the gap she witnessed for diverse families.

“It started at my kitchen table with the idea of what can I do to help the community, how am I going to make Dufferin my home and a home for everyone else,” said Alli.

The event quickly outgrew its original location, moving to the Centre Dufferin District (CDDHS) cafeteria in 2019. The event was recently established as a not-for-profit known as the Dufferin County Multicultural Foundation (DCMF).

For two years the Dufferin County Multicultural Day Event has been held virtually in partnership with the MoD.

Nanci Malek, marketing and events co-ordinator at the MoD noted the work the museum is doing to become a stronger community hub for the diversifying community of Dufferin County.

“We are asking folks of diverse nature to come and share their history with us even if they're new to Dufferin. We want them to know this is their community hub,” said Malek.

The County of Dufferin has spent the last few years focused on creating changes within the community in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Rohan Thompson, the County's first director of people and equity, spoke with the Free Press about how events such as the Dufferin County Multicultural Event can aid in tangible policy change.

“I see a tremendous amount of connection to this event from a knowledge, awareness and community building perspective and how it can relate to policy, procedure and initiative directly related to equity,” said Thompson. “This event really normalizes the fact that we're changing and says ‘we're here and we have cultures, and traditions to be celebrated', the same thing with the County in regards to the strategic work. It's more of how do we bring those folks who have been marginalized, who have been decentered and begin to center them, and to put the correct supports in place.”  

With the Dufferin County Multicultural Day Event now part of a year-round foundation, Alli adds that a number of initiatives will be coming up in the near future to continue celebrating and recognizing the diverse community in Dufferin County.

 

 


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