Diversity dinner to spotlight multi-culturalism





The 2013 Diversity Dinner and Multi-Cultural Summit is scheduled for Oct. 10 through 12 and will feature a variety of speakers and events.

Michelle Stegman, Garden City human resources director and cultural relations board liaison, said the summit is an attempt to revive the former Five-State Multicultural Conference that was last held in 2005 at Garden City Community College.

The 2005 conference featured speakers and presenters who talked about Mennonite culture, African culture and included discussions of Kansas folklore and character portrayal of Stage Coach Mary Fields, an African-American woman from the Old West era.

Stegman said the event is important to educators, human service providers, health care professionals and municipal governments, and that neighboring communities and state leaders recognize Garden City and Finney County as forerunners in the integration of immigrant populations and seek them out as experts in changing demographics.

"We are bringing in two speakers from Georgetown University and the Center for Cultural Competence, and Dr. Don Stull from KU, who's studied Garden City since 1987. We've also got a panel presentation that will be talking about opportunities and challenges of diversity in our community," she said.

Today is the registration deadline for the dinner and the summit. Call 276-1175 to register or for more information. The summit costs $75 per participant and includes the diversity dinner; the dinner alone is $30 per person or $225 for a table of eight.

In a change from past years, the annual diversity breakfast has been changed to a diversity dinner.

Themed "Celebrating Burma," the diversity dinner kicks off the summit at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Clarion Inn, featuring Albert Kyaw, Burmese translator for USD 457, Burmese dancers and Steve Quakenbush, Finney County Historical Society director.

According to the event brochure, check-in for those registered for the summit is 8 a.m. Oct. 11, in the auditorium of the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building at GCCC.

Friday's summit, "Unity through Diversity," begins with an 8:30 a.m. opening session that will include a presentation by the GCHS Color Guard and welcome messages from Garden City Mayor Dan Fankhauser, GCCC President Herbert Swender and Debra Bolton, K-State Family and Consumer Science specialist.

Following the opening, guest speakers include Dr. Vivian Jackson, Wendy Jones and Stull.

Jackson, a faculty member at Georgetown University's Center for Child and Human Development, will present, "Definitions of Cultural and Linguistic Competence." Jackson is a social worker with more than 30 years of experience as a practitioner, supervisor, manager and trainer in health, mental health, substance abuse, child welfare, managed care, system reform and cultural competency.

Stull, a professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas, where he has taught since 1975, will talk about his research of Garden City's ethnic cultures. From 1987 to 1990, Stull directed a team of six social scientists in a Ford Foundation study of changing ethnic relations in Garden City. Since then, he has worked in communities that are home to beef, pork and poultry processing plants in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kentucky, as well as consulted with a number of rural communities in the United States and Canada.

Jones, a research instructor in the department of pediatrics at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., has been associated with the Georgetown University Center for Child & Human Development and University Centers of Excellence for the past 18 years and has served in various capacities.

She is a bilingual special educator and social worker specializing in advocacy, support and training for individuals and families with limited English proficiency and families with developmental, educational and emotional disabilities.

Other events include a panel discussion about diversity in the community, and concurrent breakout sessions.

Other special guests include Simon Muturi, West Region Refugee Coordinator, Kansas Department of Children and Families; Martin Nusser, Finney County Homesteader and Broker/Owner of Coldwell Banker, The Real Estate Shoppe; Lisa Klassen, state recruiter, Kansas Migrant Education Program; James Hawkins, Garden City police chief; Janie Perkins, USD 457 Supplemental Programs coordinator; Judge Wendel Wurst, 25th Judicial District; Dr. Lindsay Byrnes, Siena Medical Clinic; and Mitch Young, complex human resources manager for Tyson Fresh Foods Finney County.

The Oct. 11 sessions will conclude with hors d'oeuvres and a performance by the GCHS Cultural Dancers at 4:30 p.m.

The closing activities on Oct. 12 will include community tours at 9 a.m. of the Sandsage Bison Range, Lee Richardson Zoo and coffee with Garden City Arts.

The event is sponsored by Garden City Cultural Relations Board, GCCC, USD 457, Finney County Community Health Coalition, K-State Research and Extension, Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Society of Human Resource management of Southwest Kansas.

comments powered by Disqus
I commented on a story, but my comments aren't showing up. Why?
We provide a community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day.
Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. We expect civil dialogue.
Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome.
Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum.

If you don't see your comment, perhaps you ...
... called someone an idiot, a racist, a moron, etc. Name-calling or profanity (to include veiled profanity) will not be tolerated.
... rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.
... included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.
... accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.
... made a comment in really poor taste.