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Indianapolis
Public Schools will add to the culture and diversity of the city’s Westside
when the 30th Annual IPS/IEA Multicultural Festival kicks off this
weekend at Lafayette Square Mall.

 

The festival,
which features cultural exhibits and arts performances, will run from 11 a.m.
to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at the food court. This year’s theme is
“Celebrating, Honoring, Embracing Cultural Diversity.”

 

 

Youth perform at Multicultural Festival “The festival
is almost like a culmination of what’s been going on in our classrooms
throughout the year through the student work on display, which will demonstrate
the academic benefits of infusing culture and history into the instructional
program,” said Pat Payne, festival coordinator and administrator on special assignment,
Racial Equity.

 

District students,
teachers and administrators along with community organizations will showcase
and celebrate the diversity within our schools and city through arts
performances, classroom exhibitions and informational displays.

 

Festivities
will kick off with a drum call featuring storyteller Khabir Shareef and the John
Marshall Community High School
JROTC Color Guard, followed throughout the day with community performances
by Mexican and Japanese dances from Ballet Folklorico Mosaics and Indianapolis
Minyo Dancers, respectively.

 

The Class Act Choir
from Charles Warren Fairbanks School 105, the Gospel Dance Team from Elder W. Diggs School 42, the Hip Hop Team from Center for Inquiry School 84 and the Drumline from John Marshall Community
High are just a few of the other acts taking the stage.

 

“We liven that
place (Lafayette Square Mall) up and it’s so wonderful,” said Payne, adding
that the festival is part of a yearlong program through the Racial Equity Team
at IPS. The mission is to lead a collaboration of community members who will partner with
IPS to improve outcomes for all students by eliminating racial
disproportionality and disparity.
“Every single
thing we do throughout the school year has it’s purpose and one of those is to
keep the importance of history and culture on people’s minds yearlong,” said
Payne.

 

“This exciting
educational event will celebrate the cultural diversity that is so prevalent in
our communities, state and nation. It will promote understanding, respect and
appreciation and encourage our students and families to honor and embrace
cultural differences and similarities,” she added.

 

Taeven Barnes,
parent involvement educator at Carl Wilde Elementary School 79 and a member of the Racial Equity Team,
said the festival also helps to connect the dots between IPS and the community.

 

“If you look at
the community that is the Westside of town, a multicultural festival is an
awesome platform to showcase and brand the new IPS. We are charged with meeting
our diverse parent group where they are and to provide a wrap-around service
for the families that we serve,” said Barnes.

 

“Celebrating
who you are is an excellent way to boost the self-esteem of our students. It’s
also a very effective way to connect the dots of businesses and families that
surround our schools. With the celebration of the festival, our community is
educated about its neighbors. When we take time to learn about someone who eats
differently than we do, dances differently, or even worships differently, an
appreciation develops and we find out that we are not that different after all.”