For the first time in its 14 years, Global Fest will become part of Unity Through Diversity Week, April 22-26, at Highline College, capping off the weeklong celebration with food trucks, entertainment and a parade led by a marching band around campus.
International Engagement Adviser Garvaundo Hamilton said the Parade of Nations, which will include 76 flag bearers holding flags from around the world, will be an opportunity for students to be proud of their culture, countries and community. After the parade is over, students can enjoy authentic food from different cultures, dance performances, a game area, dunk tank, singing and even a fashion show –– all within the East Parking Lot on campus.
“We’re getting tents just to prepare for the rain, if that were to happen,” Hamilton laughed.
This year’s theme for both Unity Week and Global Fest is “Igniting the Flames of Change.” It will be Unity Week’s 22nd year running. Both events are free and open to the community.
Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion Doris Martinez said the 14-person planning committee chose the theme as they thought about ways to inspire the community to build and cultivate change from what they learn throughout Unity Week.
With eight programs scheduled, which include speakers, workshops, lectures and performances, Martinez hopes a big takeaway will be that attendees look inward and question how they are helping others.
“What are you doing in your current state to contribute to your community?” Martinez asked. “Based on your answer, then really think about what else you can do. What little things? I’ve learned in my years of being here at Highline that it doesn’t take much to give back.”
Whether it’s shopping at a local small business, going to a community event, a town hall meeting or getting involved in a local political process, Martinez said there are many ways to get involved.
Martinez says keynote speaker Dr. Debra Jenkins exemplifies that.
Jenkins plans to speak about her organization Share the Flame, LLC, a diversity, inclusion, justice and equity consulting and coaching firm. Martinez said Jenkins is an “expert” in building diverse, equitable and inclusive communities and does a lot of racial justice work throughout the region.
“She is a profound educator, speaker and I cannot think of a better person, to be honest, to really center our theme, ‘Igniting the Flames of Change’ because she lives by that,” Martinez said. “She lives by example.”
Other events include an art installation¬ by the Ability Institute, which will showcase people with disabilities, and provide education on that community. There will also be a presentation by Jeb Wyman, author of “What They Signed Up For: True Stories by Ordinary Soldiers,” in collaboration with Highline’s Veterans Services.
“Each presentation is vastly different,” Martinez said. “But it will give an opportunity for our community to figure out ways to help and to learn more about these organizations that will be coming through, and to get involved.”
To become a flag bearer during Global Fest’s Parade of Nations, contact Garvaundo Hamilton.