Summer Solstice & Cultural Diversity
The summer solstice happens annually between June 20 and June 22 in the northern hemisphere. Our summer solstice is soon to occur, Monday, June 20. My colleague and dear friend, Sasha, will be hosting his first annual Summer Cultural Solstice Event. His goal is to bridge the significance of the Summer Solstice, which is the day with the longest period of “light”, and the significance of cultural diversity.
It will be a gathering of humans. Humans from all backgrounds, races, and ethnic upbringings. The only requirement is that you come in peace and you come to meet and enjoy new people and food.
I have assisted him with some fundraising, and we have has some very generous people donations. gathering. We are so very fortunate for Take One Event Rentals, a party supply and production company. They are donating all the tents, table, chairs, a small stage, and necessary items to put on this Solstice Celebration. We contacted them about a discount and they offered their equipment and services, at no charge. We are so very grateful their generosity.
There will be food, music, dance from a variety of cultures, and a yoga lawn. On the yoga lawn, 108 sun salutations will be performed by those that wish to participate in honor of the solstice and in honor of each diverse individual. The power of the event will be created by each person. The power of the event will be the sum of all people to create the larger, more powerful whole. It will be felt, be experienced. The intention is to develop awareness
Solstice & Diversity Defined-Together
This has always been a perplexing question for me. I feel a big identity crisis each time I come upon that specific question when filling out paperwork. I never know what to put! When we were young my mother always filled out that we were Hispanic, although she is not.
My mother is Caucasian or “white” with a mix of German, Swedish, Irish and Norwegian that make up the beautiful woman she is. My father is I guess you could say Hispanic. His mother and father were originally from Mexico, but found their way to Arizona at a very young age, where they were raised. His Father’s Father was from Spain, and he has some Italian and French mixed in their from a far away bloodline. So I assume his Hispanic. Often times now, you will find Hispanic or Latino…so what to check!
Hispanic was termed during the late 70’s by the Federal government. it comes from the Latin word “Hispania” and refers to someone fluent in Spanish. It was a way to gain information on the discriminated population. Basically Hispanic refers to someone speaking the language. Latino was later added by the government to identify more of the mixed races or “mestizo”. Basically Latino identifies someones geography.
Well this still leaves me stumped. I was both born and raised in the United States. My father grew up speaking Spanish at home. He spoke English outside of his home. He met my mother and they married and spoke English to one another as well as the three children they had. None of my siblings nor I speak Spanish. We are of mixed decent, but we reside in the U.S. So what are we?
Let’s explore ethnic cultures. We take a look at their culture and history to give insight on other cultures. Ethnicity is believed by certain theorists that it can shape many things, including interaction, learning and social engagement. Although this is not the topic of todays article, I wanted to make a note of it.
Culture Name is Greek, other names associated may be Hellenic or Romeic. The word Greek refers not onlt to the country but Ethnic group too. Greeks have a strong shared sense of ethnic identity. Ancient Greeks were strongly religious and most of their traditions and customs celebrated today are still based around religion. 98% of Greek People are Christian Orthodox, which forms the 3rd biggest branch of Christianity. The Greek Orthodox church can be found all over in Greece and those areas that of Greek culture. Their religion played a strong role in their historical past in keep the Greek ethnicity and culture alive and thriving. Therefore religion plays a large part today and the majority of holidays are religious in their presence. Church and state are separated, but it is not written and the church has a great role in everday society.
The Greek language offers a strong cultural and a strong element to the Greek culture. Greeks are strong and prideful people that embrace their traditions and ethnicity. They are proud of their culture, architecture, history, literature, philosophy and the such. They are actually more ethnically proud than any other nation in Europe.
The United States is home to a very diverse Muslim population. The American Muslim community makes up people from African American decent, Arab decent, south Asian descent, a growing number of Latino Muslims, and others from different areas of the world.
American muslims partake in everyday civil life. From boy scouts to volunteering and involvement in community boards. Adherents to Islam, a religious tradition, are called Muslim. Aside from there religious culture, where American muslims may participate in devotional religious practice in mosques located throughout the U.S., they are involved in and engage in civic actions and duties like the majority of the American population. Example…..vote Republican, Democrat or the such, be doctors, teachers, involved in groups and board.
I write this today because a dear friend, “Bob” of mine has been through some rough times as an American Muslim. He operates a business with my other dear friend Kevin, an Irish American. My friend Bob has experienced a different life, since the tragedy of 911. Bob participates in civil life. He runs a business, pays taxes, coaches a soccer team, volunteers his time, and is good, honest man.
I will recap how he has told me his life has changed. This is because of his ethnicity, but even if he didn’t follow the Islam religion and he was a Catholic, his skin color, or his race, plays a significant role in the negative stereotyping he has had to endure. Please read before you pass judgment or make assumptions.
The terms race and ethnicity are somewhat complex. They often are use interchangeably and not given much thought to where their root origin comes from. Race and Ethnicity are related to biological and sociological factors respectively. Race refers to physical characteristics such as hair, eye, skin color, and bone structure. People are divided into populations based on their “race” or physical attributes. Whereas ethnicity refers to nationality, region culture, cultural background, language, and ancestry. Ethnic populations identify on the basis of common nationality.
An interesting point between race and ethnicity is the ability to self-identify. A person does not have choice of their race. Ethnicity is self-identified. People can somewhat choose their ethnicity. They can study a language, live within cultural influence, and so choose to adapt.
Let me give an example. Many Caucasians migrated to America. Although many were white in color, or termed Caucasian, there are many cultural diversities. French culture and German cultures, Irish and Scottish. All “white” but different. Many people indigenous people throughout the African continent come from a variety of different cultures, although we call them african american, or black.
Differences in color, race, culture and religion exist greatly. Yet we all have one thing in common, and that is that we are humans. Differences, when not set out to harm or hurt others, should be respected, regardless of race or ethnicity. However, many wars have been fought and continue to be fought because of intense cultural, religious and racial beliefs.
Since the beginning of this semester I have noticed that topics I’ve discussed in class have followed me out of the class, and into real life. I feel as though I am much more observant than I was just a few months ago. I have begun to notice more biracial students on campus, at work, and just meandering around town. While on campus I have taken notice and appreciation of the student body population and how integrated the many cultures and races are. Many groups consist of a myriad of people from different backgrounds, and it seems to be of little concern to any of the group members. In fact, during a recent job fair, there was an emergency restoration company that must have had an employee of every ethnicity represented in their company. I believe they do restoration services for people’s homes, when they experience, fire, water damage and so on. They seem like an awesome company to work for so if any of my local readers are interested, their website is phoenixwaterdamage.org. Anyhow they were running a demonstration in front of a large group of students, and it was awesome to see how much fun the employees and students were having and how there was not any sort of acknowledgement of ethnicity, even though most of the employees were predominately foreign with noticeable accents. It’s moments like these where I think how beautiful our multiracial world is when everyone just accepts one another, and sees each other for their similarities and not their differences.
In the past few weeks I have learned a lot about the multiracial community as a whole, and a lot about its components parts. In my classes we have discussed the ways in which the multiracial community sees themselves, as well as the way others view them. We have also looked into where they have come from socially, and where they are heading. It has been a sad story on some accounts, but also an inspiring and powerful one on others. We as people of this generation are watching history unfold right beneath our very eyes, as the multiracial community struggles, but ultimately prospers in the 20th century.
America was not always what it is today; a free country and a country proud of its many cultural differences. Like many are aware, it used to be a country founded on protestant and puritan beliefs that put the white man on a pedi stool. Not that I believe America is perfect at this point in time, for racism still lingers, and is actually very prominent in certain areas of the country today. But we have come tremendously far from our beginnings.
While watching a film in one of my cultural classes earlier this week, we as a class were able to take a first hand look into the lives of a few citizens living multiracial identities. We were introduced to the term Hapa, referring to someone who is half Asian and half Caucasian, and able to take a peak into the trials and tribulations of being a hapa in today’s society. We saw people who struggled to identify to a particular piece of their heritage and completely abandon the other. For in this search of self-identification it seemed far easier to associate with one race rather than two.
The world in which we live in is far from perfect. The streets are littered, the oceans polluted, the banks are corrupt, and our society is out to get one another. All of these topics have initiatives in order to help the cause. We attempt to clean our streets, clean our oceans and receive justice from economic executives, but the one topic we are hesitant to address is that which applies to our society. Which ironically enough, affects us the most. Everyday many Americans are harassed based purely on their skin color, though no real effort is made to aid this epidemic of thought and action. Maybe it’s because it is not profitable or seems unchangeable. This is the backbone of society though, acceptance and unity is key to the success of the whole tribe (humanity). We are strong as a whole, not as individuals, as much as we aspire to achieve individual greatness, it is the success of the whole, which defines us all. Once we come to recognize a common bond between one another we will be able to live in a world without race.
As a white American growing up in the United States I have experienced a lot of privileges, and a lot of luxuries some of my colored brothers and sisters have not. During the course of my life, and in particular my current college experience, I have seen and heard a lot of things I wish I could forget. However, the knowledge of what I have seen and heard has strongly shaped my view of the world, and most importantly my stance. I see the world as one big whole, comprised of many intricate parts. Similarly to ecosystems, our our society is comprised of many different parts, different genders, ethnicities and cultures. They are all part of the same thing, but as individual parts that can appear and act very differently.