TORRINGTON — It was a celebration of diversity, cultures, and community in Coe Park for the first-ever “Celebrate Belonging in Your Community” event on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
More than 100 people attended the event, which was co-sponsored by several local organizations: the Conversations in Your Community group, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging Council, the Friendly Hands Food Bank, and The B.E. R.E.A.D.Y Project.
The event included a performance by the New Opportunities youth Dancers, Vera Live, Jessica Washington, the LIFE Worship Team, Sound System/Joe Mazzarella, street pop-locking dances by Joshua Rodriguez, and DJ Damian.
Twenty-seven different organizations and community groups took part in the event, which was co-organized by
Judy Kobylarz-Dillard, the Executive Director of the B.E. R.E.A.D.Y Project.
“This is the party of the summer that helps to bring unity in the community by becoming aware of all of our diversities,” Kobylarz-Dillard said. “This event is all-inclusive so we can all belong together. We are all stronger together because, if we are all trying to do the same thing, we are taking resources at different times. But if we pull our resources and the community together things will be better. Different people have different needs, but if we match each other up, we can have a balance and help everybody become their best self.”
“I think that it is awesome that we can come together,” Angaza Mwando, co-founder of the community organization Our Culture is Beautiful, said about the event. “We did a workshop on nonviolence, and part of the message of that workshop was that we need to focus on the community, and see the community as a whole. We need to keep events like this up.”
“It’s really important to gather our community together to celebrate and recognize our differences,” Carla Angevine, Diversity Equity and Inclusion Liaison from Charlotte Hungerford Hospital said. “We need to celebrate everyone sharing their experiences, which makes everyone stronger. I just am really glad we have a live event where we can all see and talk to each other.”
Photos by Shaw Israel Izikson