IMAGES shows cultural diversity

(Photos by Kelly Ocock)

This past weekend Hope College hosted an event in the Knickerbocker theatre that none will soon forget. It was called “IMAGES” and provided a mouthpiece for the minority groups that inhabit Hope. At 7 p.m. on Nov. 12, students, faculty and community members crowded into the theatre to watch a passionate, unforgettable lineup of events.

There were two sections of acts, with a brief intermission in between. Acts varied from singing and dancing to drumming, acting and poetry. Many countries were represented, including China, South Korea, Mexico and Sri Lanka.

“We rehearsed a total of about 7 or 8 hours together.” Catherine Dustrude (’19) said. Dustrude was part of the “Latin Sensation” group that portrayed the variety of dances within the Central/Latin American culture.

“‘Images’ is important for the communities of Hope and Holland because, oftentimes, the diversity is unseen. It’s not as obvious that there are so many cultures present here at Hope and giving each person recognition is awesome,” Dustrude said.

One of the most prominent performances was Lakna Jayasinghe’s ‘Peacock Dance,’ which showcased the cultural richness of Sri Lanka. Jayasinghe was bedecked in an outfit worn by similar dancers in her country, which displayed the colors and patterns of the animal her performance was named after.

Another impactful act was called “A Time to Dance and a Time to Move Mountains” that the Black Student Union performed. They danced to various songs from the nineties to the present. All the while, pictures flashed across the backdrop of powerful and moving African Americans who have helped shape our country today. Quotes from people, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., were observed to emphasize the attitude of love and change we should constantly strive for despite recent political and social tensions.

“Students could continue to be more culturally aware by noticing other cultures. It’s one thing to know it exists, but it’s another thing to notice when it’s happening,” Dustrude said. “Not everyone needs to join a culture club, but just to know what they are, what they stand for and why they exist here is part of being a good part of the body of Hope.”

Not only was the night filled with cultural significance, but the various people of each culture were represented. Stereotypes were shattered as students showed the audience what each country truly encompassed and stood for.

Everyone in the audience was sure to have learned something new over the course of the evening. As a college, we are constantly striving to open our arms to great diversity and this event was a beautiful display of that. Anyone is welcome to join the different student groups, regardless of race, which is a common misconception to outsiders. Ultimately, the point is unification and how we can support one another.

There are countless cultures we pass on a daily basis without taking the time to acknowledge them. In order to unify the world, the first step is to appreciate the unique and beautiful individuals around us.

The final comment made by Janna Kollen (’17), one of the hosts, was, “all our hearts are clearly the same.” We are stronger together, celebrating diverse culture, focusing on the similarities that make us all human.

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