People celebrate cultural diversity at annual festival

Hastings College hosted their 10th annual Cultural Festival Sunday. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - People in Hastings celebrated diversity in the community at Hastings College's 10th annual Cultural Festival Sunday.

From traditional tacos from Mexico, to chicken and vegetables from China, to egg rolls from Vietnam, people tasted, and shared, food from all around the world at the festival.

At the Panama booth, people could try a breakfast medley of hot dogs, broccoli, rice and eggs. Students with the Global Medical Brigades said they ate that dish everyday when they were in Panama this year setting up clinics for people who needed healthcare.

"I think it's important to talk about our differences, and coming together as a community. They say America's a melting pot, but we don't really know about other cultures when we're sitting here," said Hannah Langer, co-president of the Global Medical Brigades at Hastings College.

The organizer of the festival and professor at Hastings College, Moses Dogbevia, ties that back to fear.

"The atmosphere is such that people are afraid to even speak their own language when they're out in their own community. This is simply because they don't seem to be braced by their own community," Dogbevia said.

Dogbevia is from Ghana in West Africa. He said when he came to Hastings, he noticed how diverse of a community it is. Dogbevia said he wanted to do something to create an inclusive event where people could get to know each other, and their cultures.

They did this with ethnic food, cultural dances and music.

"I believe that we are all in for a common good. If Hastings as a city is to grow and strive, it would be very important for all the people to understand one another," Dogbevia said.

The college wants to continue growing the event, and would like to eventually include more community businesses and organizations.