World cultures represented, celebrated at local venue in Northbrook: ‘It’s amazing that our community has so much variety’

Chicago Tribune 1 month ago

An estimated 500 people attended the 2019 Celebration of Cultures in Northbrook Sunday at the North Suburban YMCA.

The two-hour event was sponsored and coordinated by Northbrook’s Community Relations Commission and is hosted by the North Suburban YMCA.

For several years, the CRC, in partnership with the YMCA, has presented the event, featuring many of the cultures represented along the North Shore.

“It seems to get bigger every year,” said Chris Beeftink of Northbrook, event co-chair who serves on the Community Relations Commission. “The objective is to get people together, to experience each other’s culture and it’s all about unity and education.”

He said it’s through understanding each other that people become a stronger community.

Attendees could experience stations representing cultures from around the world, including Dia de los Muertos (Mexico), Diwali (India) and Chuseok (South Korea).

“This is always such a great event,” said Northbrook Village President Sandy Frum, who attended Sunday. “It’s amazing that our community has so much variety.”

Frum said she’s proud of Northbrook’s diversity.

“I think we forget how wonderful the diversity is here,” she said. “You get to know all sorts of people, and all sorts of heritages and cultures … It just makes it so much more exciting.”

There were free sweets and treats offered plus performances by groups representing Poland, Korea, Iran and more.

“Dance, music, it’s the only universal language,” said Ahoo Kosari, who performed with the Donya Dance Ensemble dance troupe.

Donya means “world” in Persian and Arabic, Kosari said.

“Sometimes without words, we come together with just movement and sound,” Kosari said.

Jenny Hwang, 14, of Buffalo Grove, performed with the Chicago Korean Dance Company.

“I really like it because I can learn more about my culture since I’m living in America,” said Hwang, a freshman at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

Event emcee John Martin, of Northbrook, represents the Catholic Community of Northbrook (St. Norbert Parish, Our Lady of the Brook) as a CRC commissioner, he said.

“It is about unity, it’s also about diversity, but it’s also about unity we have, (the) many things in common,” Martin said about the event’s purpose. “We are all tied together with music, dance and singing.”

Alexandra Kolodnikov, 12, a Cooper Middle School seventh-grader from Buffalo Grove, performed with the Campanella Children’s Choir of Northbrook.

“Even though some people here may not speak English, I really hope they got the message,” she said.

Karie Angell Luc is a freelancer.

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