Two dancers from the Raices de mi Pueblo Ballet Folklorico group perform at CCC for the Cultural Connect event.

Cultural Connect celebrates Hastings’ diversity

Cultural Connect is a collaboration between the Center for Rural Affairs, Hastings Multicultural Association, YWCA of Adams County, and Hastings College, creating a week-long series of events meant to celebrate and promote the diversity with the Hastings community. 

This grew out of the annual Multicultural Student Union (MSU) Cultural Festival that happens on campus, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. 

Two professors from HC are involved with the week-long series of events: Dr. Moses Dogbevia, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Laura Logan, associate professor of sociology. 

The plans for Cultural Connect started a year ago when Gladys Godinez, Center for Rural Affairs community organizer, visited the Hastings Cultural Festival that Dogbevia helps with each year. The idea was to expand the vision of the festival into a full set of annual events to celebrate Hastings. The people working together to put on Cultural Connect events hope that it grows into its own entity with a group of people that plan events each year. 

The week of events kicked off on Monday with “Train the Trainers,” geared toward teaching service providers to help and support immigrant populations. Cultural Connect partnered with the Hastings Public Library and the Immigrant Legal Center to put on the event at 10 a.m. in the Hastings Public Library.

Dogbevia highlighted the importance of Tuesday’s event, “Let’s Go Luna!” at the Hastings Museum. It was a children-based event, with a showing of the movie “Let’s Go Luna,” along with pizza and activities for the children. Cultural Connect partnered with NET and PBS Kids to put on the event. Dogbevia said this begins teaching children to successfully work together at a young age. 

“It’s a good thing if we have an annual celebration of events that bring young ones together because they are the future of progress. So the more they get to interact with one another, get along with one another, more good things can happen,” Dogbevia said.

Wednesday and Thursday included a chance for the community to learn a new dance. Cultural Connect worked with Raices de mi Pueblo Ballet Folklorico, who performed on Wednesday night. The Ballet Folklorico hosted a dance class on Thursday. Both events took place at the Central Community College campus. 

Wednesday night also included a panel titled, “Connecting Across Beliefs,” which was an interfaith conversation by the Tri-Faith Initiative. It took place at the YWCA of Adams County.

Today’s event will be a luncheon meant to discuss what Cultural Connect is and how people can get involved with it. Anyone interested in attending can RSVP to the YWCA, which is where it will be taking place at 11:30 a.m.

Tomorrow will include a poetry slam competition, with all pieces being original to the poets and taking place in downtown Hastings at First Street Brewing Co. 
at 7 p.m. 

The big event to conclude the week will be the MSU Cultural Festival from 1–4 p.m. at the Kiewit Gymnasium on campus. People will bring in food representing different cultures and countries, and there will also be performances, games and music.