Coming Together is a unique project that began in 2010 to celebrate and embrace the special cultural diversity found in Niles Township. Cultures and topics have shared their history and traditions at the event, including, Asian-Indians, Filipinos, Greeks, Assyrians, Koreans, Chinese, “Voices of Race”, Latinos/Hispanics, Muslim-American, and Polish cultures. Each country presented its culture from its own perspective, through programs including performances, literacy, lectures, and hands-on demonstrations.
This year, Coming Together gives a voice to all of its residents by examining origin stories, including how one’s family came to settle in Niles Township. Sharing experiences with others is not only empowering, but also enlightening for those who are walking a similar path. Community members will share stories through art, music, dance, food, literature, storytelling, photographs, and conversations. This personal level of sharing is incredibly impactful. Personal stories foster a connection between people with different backgrounds. Taken in a multi-cultural context, these stories create an understanding of different perspectives inside the world in which we live.
The annual opening ceremony will take place on Sunday, January 26 at 1pm, at Niles West High School, 5701 Oakton St., Skokie. The main spotlight will be on storytellers and their unique stories. On stage, performances will include traditional dances from Romania and Bulgaria. The cross-cultural music will be played by the Surabhi Ensemble, a global music and dance collective. Historical displays focus on daily life in different periods, a unique photo exhibit Surva 2020 and students displays illustrating their families’ stories will be available to the public on the main floor. There will be hands-on activities to enjoy: a photo station that will take you on a journey to the different parts of the world, origami lessons, Romanian DIY projects and a chance to make a traditional Martenitza, a symbol of good health and prosperity. Kukeri dancers will dispel evil and invite good. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public.
Free activities and programs continue for six weeks, including book discussions, film screenings, craft and cooking demonstrations, and other events highlighting immigration, migration, local history, community resources, and current events. For more information visit Coming Together.