Helena holds 2nd annual Unity Festival

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, April 25, 2023

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By EMILY REED | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – Helena’s Diversity and Inclusion Board held its second annual International Unity Festival on Saturday.

“Our goal is to bring different cultures and different ethnicities and backgrounds together,” said Chair of Helena’s Diversity and Inclusion Board Dominga Gardner. “It is a great opportunity for everyone to meet different people and to interact with them. I am always interested in seeing different ways we can bring people together.”

This was the second year for the event and roughly 1,200 people attended.

Helena Councilman Chris VanCleave said the festival showcases the richness and diversity of different cultures, traditions and lifestyles of the people in the area.

“The festival is unique in that it celebrates diversity,” VanCleave said. “It fosters a greater understanding and appreciation of people of different backgrounds. This festival promotes social cohesion. It not only brings people together, it helps create a sense of community and belonging. It also encourages artistic expression and it provides a platform for artists and performers from diverse backgrounds to showcase their talents and creative expression.”

Gardner said she hopes the event will continue to grow and expand in the future.

“We are planning for next year,” Gardner said. “We want this to become an annual event that people in the community look forward to.”

The festival is instrumental in celebrating what makes everyone unique, and to allow those with different cultural backgrounds or different ethnicities to come together.

“I think for a community like Helena it is really great to see so many people come out and show an interest in getting to know everyone,” Gardner said. “People are always saying they didn’t even know we had a Diversity and Inclusion Board so we would love for others to become involved.”

While the festival is an annual event, Gardner said anyone interested in getting involved with the Board can reach out by emailing helenadibboard@gmail.com.

The group meets every fourth Thursday of the month at the Helena Sports Complex.

Or, those interested can call (205) 304-1344 or follow them on social media at Helenadibboard.