Strengthening Cultural Unity
Vision: One people, One family, One community.
Mission: Building social justice and understanding among the different cultural, ethnic, and social groups within our community.
For the past several years Strengthening Cultural Unity has hosted a Monthly Grind re-branding it as the Cultural Grind. Inviting different cultural groups to come together in celebration of diversity. Our most recent grind featured Ketchikan Youth Support Network and their theme not just another fish in the sea, celebrating student diversity. Featuring acts from Alaska Native Brotherhood/Sisterhood, Sons of Norway, Tongass Dancers, The Misty Thistle Bagpipers and many more. This was not only a amazing celebration but also highlights how cherished our differences are without losing the unity that binds our community together.
For the past three years, the Strengthening Cultural Unity Task Force (SCU) has partnered with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District in bringing Challenge Day to our junior and high schools. Challenge Day is a nationally recognized program that goes into communities to work with students in creating positive change within individuals and the overall school culture. These one-day events teach all participants, both students and adults, the respect, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding that all people need. Through key words of Notice, Choose, and Act, participants are encouraged to make positive changes within themselves and in the environment in which they live.
The Challenge Day events are enlightening and empowering events for all participants. However, it is through the “Be the Change” follow-up activities that long term positive change reaches out to the rest of the school community and the community at large. Through the efforts of school district staff members, and the SCU volunteers, we have been developing Be the Change teams at both the high school and middle school levels that then make plans as to how to spread the Challenge Day message to the larger community. This program is building and growing each year.
Very recently, the Strengthening Cultural Unity task force made the decision to focus more on the adult population in the community by exploring different options for cultural unity. As a result of this decision, Challenge Day was transferred to the Empowering Youth Task Force, as it fit in nicely with vision and mission of that group. Please check back soon as we explore future projects for our group.