Tuesday was the third annual “One Red Cross” Multi-Cultural Celebration, but as a newbie to this chapter it was my first time attending. As I write this I’m already looking forward to next year’s celebration. It was that awesome.

Antoinette Edwards and the rest of the Diversity Task Force put together a two hour fun-fest filled with an insane variety of food and drink, music and dance, and a heaping handful of new facts about cultures other than our own.
I was very much looking forward to representing my New Zealand heritage and although a Pavlova Cake is more recognizably Kiwi I decided to put together a Lolly Cake. You can’t go wrong with something sweet. A mere five ingredients, Lolly Cake can best be described as a sugar explosion. Although it doesn’t look as appetizing as it tastes, especially when sitting amongst the gorgeous spread of nibbles and treats that were there, by the end of the celebration it was gone. After we filled our plates with traditional dishes ranging from Jewish to Jamaican, the Royal Blues, Grant High School’s Chamber Choir, Alonzo Chadwick and our very own Laura Reese showed us their very talented musical side. And I think I can speak for all when I say we were captivated by the authentic dance performances from Sebe Kan African drums and dancers, NAYA Native American dancers, and Subashini Ganesan, an East Indian dancer. I was so inspired by the soulful dancing that next year I’m thinking about sharing my version of the Haka. Aside from food, music and dance, a few of our community leaders shared their thoughts on why it’s important to celebrate our diversity. Our CEO, Maree Wacker, Portland Police Chief, Mike Reese, and Multnomah County Chief Diversity and Equity Officer, Daryl Dixon all believe in the power of a thriving diverse workplace. Despite the inevitable sugar crash, our Multi-Cultural Celebration was a success. Music, food and fun do wonders at bringing a variety of communities together. We filled our bellies and we filled our hearts and I say we make it happen more often.