Lawrence Township will celebrate its diversity at the annual Diversity and Cultural Festival at Lawrence High School, 2525 Princeton Pike, from noon to 4 p.m. May 6. The event is sponsored by the township’s Human Relations Committee.
“There are a lot of people in Lawrence who come from a lot of different nations, and people are not aware of it,” said Teresita Bastides-Heron of the Human Relations Committee. “We need to learn why they do certain things, to understand their culture, so we can have peaceful relations. It’s good for the community to get to know other cultures.”
The Human Relations Committee has arranged for Shabnam Salih, a policy adviser to Gov. Phil Murphy, to be the keynote speaker at the festival. Salih’s parents immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan before she was born.
Previous guest speakers have included former Superintendent of Schools Crystal Edwards, Pamela Pruitt, the director of Multicultural Affairs at Rider University, and playwright Noemi de la Puente.
The Diversity and Cultural Festival will feature activities ranging from demonstrations of Chinese calligraphy to Chinese paper folding and henna tattoo painting. Visitors can have their names written in Arabic.
Master Kevin will offer a t’ai chi demonstration. There will be poetry recitations, and a Mexican art and photography exhibit. Demonstrations of singing and dancing from around the world are planned, including gospel and those of the Latino, Caribbean, Indian and Chinese cultures.
And of course, there will be food – from classic American hot dogs and pizza, to traditional foods from China, Italy, Mexico, Ecuador and Trinidad. Kosher food and hallal food will also be available to sample.
Members of the International Alliance and the Career Academies at Lawrence High School will participate as volunteers, along with Rider University students and members of the Greater Eldridge Park Neighborhood Association.