An excellent way for ethnic groups in Columbus to raise understanding about their culture is to showcase it for all to enjoy.
That’s exactly what the Columbus Chinese Association did Jan. 25 when it hosted its Chinese New Year Gala at Columbus East High School, with organizational help from the Cummins Chinese Affinity Group and the Indy Asian American Times.
A Welcoming Community II grant from the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County provided financial support.
The event featured a variety show of music, dance, comedy, fashion, martial arts and more; and it included an Asian meal. More than 700 people, including longtime residents, attended.
American-born Columbus residents got into the spirit of the event and dressed in traditional Chinese clothing.
“This is a wonderful event to get to see some of the culture and beauty of China,” said Jennifer Rumsey, who wore a bright red-and-yellow Chinese top known as a tang blouse.
The event also was an example of how the city celebrates its diversity, which is important considering the various nationalities residents represent.
Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization includes nine member associations: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Latin American, African-American, Middle Eastern, Pakistan, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Foreign countries have a strong business presence in Columbus, with more than 30 companies representing seven countries: Japan, Germany, China, Canada, France, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia, according to the Columbus Economic Development Board’s website.
Residents from other countries want to feel welcome here. When Columbus residents attend ethnic events such as the Chinese New Year’s Gala, learning and understanding take place and bonds are formed and strengthened.
Event attendee Stan Chen, a China native who has lived in Columbus for six years, compared the Chinese New Year to a Thanksgiving family reunion.
Ethnic events such as the Chinese New Year Gala help unite the large, diverse family that is Columbus.