On September 18, 2018 Martin Library’s Teen Leadership committee hosted the Welcoming Week 2018, Cultural Jam: Teens Creating Community event. The event was co-hosted by The Matts Youth Center. Teens and their family members welcomed and celebrated the many cultures in York, Pa. The leadership committee worked together with library staff to plan an evening of fun and informative programs.
A passport was issued to each student when they arrived at the Cultural Jam to help them navigate the many regions within the library where they could share with others their “I Am” stories.
Multicultural music, dance, food, spoken word and poetry stations were among the destinations. Teens and their families connected with others while learning about resources available in their communities and in the library. A red, white and blue mosaic of the American Flag, was created, each block telling individual stories and identifying what makes each participant unique.
Several dance teams shared music from their cultures. Ni Riain School of Irish Dance shared traditional dance and taught others basic Irish dance steps. Splanglish, a local dance team, shared dances performed in many Spanish communities.
The Temple Guard brought the house down with drums and dance steps performed with military precision. It was fun watching the Irish Dancers moving with the drum beats!
Food was provided by small business owners in the city. Pizza and Pork with Spanish rice were favorites on the menu. The teens created walking tacos, tasted bubble teas, fresh fruits and of course chocolate, everyone’s favorite.
Library staffed showcased the many items in the collections that support diverse communities, shared information regarding the variety of programs offered in the Teen Forum, such as gaming and coding groups, The Gay Straight Alliance, and Teen Leadership Committee.
To end the evening, LaQuinn Thompson of The Matts helped the audience become more introspective through the sharing of original poetry and spoken word performances. Young adults expressed their thoughts, joys, heartaches and passions. LaQuinn then refocused the discussion with a presentation of the 30 Universal Human Rights, such as the Rights to Public Assembly, Food and Shelter, Life, and the Freedoms of Thought, Expression, and to Move. Teens were challenged to educate themselves, become advocates and impact their local, national and global communities.
Martin Library partnered with the York YMCA New American Welcome Center to celebrate Welcoming Week 2018, a national program that unites our diverse communities and extends a welcoming hand to new members of the community. York is recognized as a Welcoming City and is one of only 16 New American Welcome Center locations in the United States. The library participated in the full week of programs with many other partners including Latinos Unidos of York, City of York, CASA, PIRC, United Way and State Representative Carol Hill Evans. Representatives from 73 nations and 65 language groups live in York County. The library engaged more than 25 vendors, accepting donations of $2500 worth of food representing many of these cultural groups in York.
This program showcases the importance of PaForward Literacies. Basic Literacy, Civic and Social Literacy, Information Literacy, Health Literacy and Financial Literacy.
Director of Martin Library