Unity in the Community brings Spokane together to celebrate diversity

SPOKANE, Wash. - It's been one week since a young woman was killed during violent protests in Charlottesville. Those events of last week generated much sadness and anger around the nation.

Today hundreds gathered in Riverfront Park for the 23rd annual Unity in the Community event that celebrates diversity; the biggest multicultural event in the region. Organizers said there was no thought to cancel it. If anything, it motivated them to get more people involved and bring together even more people in the community.

It seems they accomplished that and even broke some records in the process.

Unity in the Community's April Anderson explained they had over 100 vendors present. While some of those booths may have seemed a little surprising to see at an event celebrating diversity; Anderson explained that it gives them the opportunity to show they are unified with them in their mission.

Some booths may have been a little surprising to see at an event celebrating diversity in the community.

Gloria Higginson with Meals on Wheels agrees says it also gives organizations like hers the opportunity to reach out to people who may not be aware of the work they do.

“I was surprised so many people stopped and said i know very little about your program, tell me about it,” shared Higginson.

A staple at the event is cultural village, where kids can take their passport to different places around the world and learn things like a new language, listen to beautiful music and score back to school supplies.

Kevin Wong represented Hawaii at the cultural village and said, “along with the other people in the cultural village, we just want to represent our part of it the people from Hawaii who were transplanted here to Spokane.”

Anderson added, “every year it just is better and better and bigger and bigger and we do more.”

They did more this year by adding an event that crowds went crazy for, the first ever community outreach battle that saw Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich serenade the crowd and the Spokane Police Department bust a move.

Captain Traci Meidl with the Spokane Police Department said, “it was actually such a fun experience being up there representing law enforcement, but letting the community see us in a different light.”

The Spokane Police Department took second in the battle but said they are getting ready for a comeback next year where they plan on taking first place.