On Saturday September 14, 2013 EWI had the privilege of participating in the Second Annual Alexandria DiverseCity Multicultural Fest in Arlandria, Virginia. This event was designed to bring community members together and celebrate Alexandria’s diversity. “Nearly a third of Alexandrians speak a language other than English at home,” said Debbie Hodnett, festival chair. “The city of Alexandria is proud to celebrate these diverse cultures by highlighting the variety of music, dance, crafts and cuisines that make Alexandria so vibrant.”
As the new Community Partnership Intern at EWI and it being my first event I was thrilled to be taking part in such a culturally diverse festival; however what is a cultural fest without the culturally diverse artists and entrepreneurs of EWI and their equally diverse artifacts? On this occasion we were fortunate to have four of our Alumni with us which included Charmelle Clark, Mariam Mohamed, Julie Hyo Park, and Amoy Stephen, as well as our wonderful volunteer Su Hlaing Win Nu, who helped me make this event possible. EWI was proud to be there to support our Alumni and I was equally excited to be able to promote more awareness in the community about EWI and its mission.
When I first got to the festival I was nervous about what the day ahead would bring. It being my first time at an event representing EWI there were times when I questioned if I had what it took to share with people what a great organization we truly are. But working alongside such wonderful women, hearing their stories, and seeing their passions, I immediately realized how far dreams can actually go when you have the right tools and the right people by your side. At that point I wanted to get up on stage and let the whole fest know about EWI, but I held back only because Melodica Oriental, the Salvadoran and Honduran band was playing such a catchy tune that many were dancing and giggling, and that only made me the more joyful to be there!
The day could not have been any better. I enjoyed sharing about EWI and I enjoyed going around Arlandria and posting flyers, dropping of postcards, and even using my bilingual skills to let many shop owners know about EWI. Many of these show owners were very interested in our organization and shared with me their own stories and struggles about starting their own businesses, many exclaimed how helpful and less stressful it would have been to have an organization like EWI by their side back then.I was happy the day ended on such a positive note and happy I was able to take part in such an event. After such a wonderful experience I felt only the more empowered to take on the next event and keep spreading the word in order to help more dreams and passions turn into realities.
Written by Tatiana Sandoval, Community Partnership Intern