A true mosaic

by YES! Staff

More than 4,500 Guilford County residents came out to Festival Park in downtown Greensboro this weekend for the Mosaic Festival, put on by Church World Services to celebrate the international community at the intersection of food, music and art.

The day saw cuisine from 14 countries, including South Korea, Bhutan, the Congo and Iran. Entertainment came from the cultures of Senegal, Vietnam, India, Nepal, Mexico and Spain, to name a few. There were talking drums, dancing children, colorful costumes, native crafts. For those who came out, it was one of the best outdoor festivals downtown Greensboro has seen, a fitting song to a city that has in the last decade become an international hub.

More than 140 languages are spoken by students at Guilford County schools. More than half of the babies born in the county last year were designated as “minorities.” Ten percent of Guilford County residents were born in countries other than this one.

Greensboro has become a cosmopolitan,  international city. You can see it in the schools.

Greensboro has become a cosmopolitan, international city. You can see it in the schools.

You can see it in the neighborhoods.

You can see it in the restaurants.

You can see it in the neighborhoods. You can see it in the restaurants.

CWS has a front-row  seat for this transformation. The organization provides “comprehensive resettlement services” to newly arrived immigrants in the county, ranging from healthcare to job skills to basic acculturation. The festival is a way to spotlight the things these people bring to the multicultural stew that the city has become.

This is nothing new, of course. The United States is a nation of immigrants, each wave bringing with it ideas, experiences and aspirations that further define what it means to be an American.

Most striking out there in the sunshine, with the smells from the cooking fires mingling in the warm air with the sounds of hand drums and exotic strings, was the sense of community shared by people from nations the world over, and the fact that this sea of skin tones and amalgamation of languages is who we are.

And we suspect that not everyone knows just how multicultural this place has become — particularly if your experience in the city is limited to downtown and a few select shops, restaurants and neighborhoods. It would be a simple thing to convince oneself that Greensboro has not changed much in the last 15 years; familiarity breeds insularity. And we suppose there are some who would prefer if the Greensboro of today more closely resembled the city as it was in generations past.

But those of us out there on Saturday afternoon reveled in the reality of the city we have become: diverse, culturally rich, modern and, in a fundamental way, American.

YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration .