Saturday marked a day filled with dance, speeches, food and activities as dozens gathered at Assiniboine Park to celebrate Multiculturalism Day.
A capacity limit was in place for the celebration due to COVID-19.
It’s an event that was planned and organized by the Ethnocultural Council of Manitoba, with 2020 marking its first year.
“I think with all the things going on in the world, we could use more love and that is what the feeling is right now today,” says Sumegha Gupta, an attendee of the event.
Gupta immigrated from India with her husband over seven years ago. She says gathering with other immigrants is something she’ll always cherish.
“We love Canada but sometimes you have to have this community so you can still feel you’re at home. Having these spaces where you can go and speak comfortably means a lot to me and of course to our community,” says Gupta.
The event was supposed to be a part of this summer’s Manitoba 150 festivities, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the council to get creative with planning.
Organizers said that recent events happening worldwide highlighted how important it was to host the celebration this year.
“When we talk about diversity, when we talk about equality, when we talk about inclusion
and without living it, it doesn’t make sense. It’s just a word. This is a living example of what those things are,” says one the event coordinators, Reuben Garang.
The day also marked an opportunity for the community to mourn the loss of one of their most active members, Nour Ali.
The 42-year-old is said to have been a prominent member of the Ethnocultural Council and passed away in a boating accident just two weeks ago.
“Nour had been very much part of it, he’s part of the planning committee and his input had been very valuable. What you see now is a product of some of his input as well,” said the council’s co-chair Perla Javate.
“He’s one person who’s not afraid to commit himself to different kinds of things because that’s the kind of person he is and when he commits himself, he follows through. That’s one thing that I really admire about him,” Javate continued.