Meet Your Neighbors At Welcoming Week: Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo

“Diversity in the world is a basic characteristic of human society, and also the key condition for a lively and dynamic world as we see today.”
Jinato Hu

I have a diverse group of friends. This doesn’t seem remarkable to me. My friends are my friends and we don’t sit around and talk about what our friendship means or what it represents to other people.

But since some of my friends are New Americans, here as refugees or recent immigrants, I’ve been writing a few stories about how their experiences in the Midwest have touched and changed mine. And those stories have prompted other people, usually people born in the U.S., to ask me how they can get to know some of the newest immigrants among us.

The answer to that is really simple. You just smile and say hello. I’m kind of an extrovert and getting involved with activities and people is easy and energizing for me, but I know it’s not easy for everyone. And it’s especially tough for our newest neighbors who still struggle with English. So events like Welcoming Week: Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo make getting acquainted easier for all of us.

communitytable_2015_012-2
Photo by Ann Arbor Miller

Welcoming Week: Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo is a totally free community event designed to introduce New Americans to their U.S.-born neighbors with a series of 25 free community events over the course of 9 days. The community party happens at locations around the Fargo, West Fago and Moorhead area from September 17th to 25th.

There are lots of events planned, including community meals, sporting events, kid-friendly entertainment and educational and arts events too. It’s all about getting people together in a fun, organic way “We have happy hours, a community table, a movie night, a potluck, a barbeque, and a soccer tournament planned so newcomers and long term residents can get to know each other over drinks, food and entertainment — three of the best ways people socialize,” says co-organzier Kevin Brooks.

I love this. It can seem daunting to get to know new people, so a shared activity can take some of the pressure off. You can just hang out, cheer at a game, share a meal or watch your kids play together before the movie starts. You can just check out the events that interest you and ignore the ones that don’t. (You can add individual events to your calendar on the group’s Welcoming Week Facebook page.)

I’ve shared some of my favorite events for you here. There are others that are more focused on literature, business and volunteer opportunities as well. You can find a complete list of scheduled events here or add individual events to your calendar on the Welcoming Week Facebook page

communitytable_2015_009
Photo by Ann Arbor Miller

Community Table
Sunday, September 18
11am-2pm
Rabanus Park
4315 18th Ave SW in Fargo
Sit down with your neighbors and enjoy a community meal harvested from local community gardens. This event is hosted by Growing Together and the Cultural Diversity Resource Center.

Movie Night
Tuesday, September 20
6-8pm
Jefferson Elementary School
1701 4th Avenue South in Fargo
Neighbors of all ages can check out a free showing of “Zootopia”. This event is hosted by CHARISM and Fargo Police.

New American Potluck & Cultural Event
Friday, September 23
11am-2pm
Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota
3911 20th Ave S in Fargo
Check out food from around the world.

Welcoming Week Soccer Tournament
Saturday, September 24
9am-6pm
Johnson Park
South of NDSU, between 11th Ave and 8th Ave South in Fargo
Teams representing refugee, immigrant and long-term resident communities will play for the World Cup of Fargo.

StreetsAlive!
Sunday, September 25
2-5pm
Downtown Fargo-Moorhead
A three mile loops in downtown Fargo and Moorhead are closed to motorized vehicles during this walking, biking, blading, running event. Get moving and check out entertainment along the route.

Welcoming Week: Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo
September 17-25
Various locations

communitytable_2015_010
Photo by Ann Arbor Miller

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”
Rollo May

What about you?
Have you attended any Welcoming Week events, either in Fargo-Moorhead or in your community?
What did you think?
Which events will you be going to this year?
What kind of community events do you recommend in your community?

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