Tomorrow is College Park Day. For the first time in its history, the residents of College Park will descend upon one place to celebrate the richness of this city that they call home.
Nearly a year ago, when my fellow North College Park blogger Joe Smith and I started writing about the challenges our city was facing, we had no idea where our blog posts would lead to a year later. The very few readers, who kindly made trips to our blogs, probably ignored those posts as typical “rants” that they see as so common in our digital blogosphere.
Fast forward, a few months later, after a busy work day, Joe and I found ourselves at our first organizing committee meeting with a small group of City officials. The five of us that attended that meeting had one goal in our minds – let our city residents explore and celebrate the richness of our city’s diversity and heritage.
Since then, dozens of committee meetings have taken place, hundreds of emails have made their ways to committee members’ inboxes, yet we managed to stay focused on our original goal and vision. Tomorrow, we’ll be witnessing the hard work of these committee members coming to fruition. The last six months truly seemed so short.
Are we going to achieve the goals that we started working towards several months ago? For the most part, yes.
On the diversity front, we managed to reach out to each and every community group in the city, including civic associations, faith groups, local businesses, schools, scouting groups – you name them. The list of these groups rapidly started growing, so much so that their numbers made our our logistics subcommittee members nervous – they could only have so many!
The support and active participation of UMD’s so many diverse groups were also significant. The sheer experience to witness so many UMD groups working together with the various residents’ groups has simply been astounding. This may be the first time that I’ve ever seen these two distinct yet so close groups come together and work on a city matter for so long and with so much passion.
The City’s effort to promote this community relations is also praiseworthy. Not only has the City made the largest contribution to the event, but also various City officials have spent countless hours to bring the event’s work to the finish line. Along with that, the contributions from various sponsors were also significant. Without them, it would have been impossible to support so many projects we took on as part of the event.
Because of this event, we were also able to energize many of our City’s very young residents. Some 70 students at our 6 schools, many as young as 5 years old, have taken part in an exciting poster contest, called ‘This is My Culture’. The organizing committee has treasured these art works so much so that they have decided to put each one of them on display at the event. This really could not have been possible without the active support of our school principals and teachers; I can already feel a strong sense of excitement emerging from the work that they’ve conducted over the past few weeks. One principal wrote to me: “I have not seen such an organized City event ever before.”
Though the TOCP (Taste of College Park) has now gone into “defunct” status, our organizers will be presenting a number of ethnic foods for residents to enjoy. What greater way to experience city’s diversity other than tasting the delicious delicacies that our disperate cultures offer? The most important part is – you don’t need to spend a single cent to taste them.
Though the diversity is an important strength of our town, we should also be proud of the long and rich history and heritage that our city offers. Known as the cradle of American aviation, our city is also the home of several local and national museums. All of them – The National Museum of Languages, The College Park Aviation Museum and the National Archives will all be there. We’ll also be showing you two documentaries and posters on the rich history of our city.
College Park Day was created for you, and only for you. It was designed to explore the richness of the city that you call home.
Please be there, explore and enjoy!