JCFamilies 7th Annual Cultural Diversity Festival
Jersey City is just a short distance from Ellis Island, the docking point for many immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th century. Known as “America’s Golden Door” Jersey City is more than fitting to host JCFamilies 7th Annual Cultural Diversity Festival 2021. JCFamilies has been providing connections to parents in the community since 2010. Aiming to link families from diverse backgrounds together socially and to valuable community resources and local businesses. JCFamilies events are free, funded by donations, and run by volunteers from the community.
JCFamilies, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2010; aims to connect community, families, and businesses together. Hamilton Park was the perfect venue to share a wide variety of culture with Jersey City’s families. Hamilton Park located in downtown Jersey City is named after the 1st United States Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, known for pioneering in support of racial equality and economic diversity. Driving into the city on a Saturday morning was no easy feat, but after finding a parking space on a side street directly across from Hamilton Park, I knew I was in for a heartwarming day. a low murmur of activity could be heard as I entered the park filled with families of all sizes, cultures, and ages. A group of families gathered to the right of me as I entered. Moms and dads, babies in carriers and strollers, and little ones running around. A spread of treats from boxes of Joe to donuts lay out on a park table for the parents to enjoy. A family of three playing tee ball to the left, and straight ahead the festivities were already in full swing. Hamilton Park is large enough to hold the small gatherings waiting for the festival to begin and the families already here for a relaxing Saturday in the park. In the center of the park were vendors from the area; Cupcake Carriage offered samples and batches of cupcakes for purchase. Boananas offers a wide variety of pudding and custards. The Torta Truck food truck serving authentic Mexican tacos to the community. Tables lined the walkway with vendors offering information and opportunities to sign up children for free orthodontic consults, preschool, swim lessons, music lessons, and more.
Diversity Through Dance
The center focal point of Hamilton Park is a gazebo right in the center. By 11 am the gazebo is filled with loud speakers, Fall decor, and pint sized performers. In the Gazebo preparation for choreography highlighting African, Asian, Indian, Irish, Japanese dance, with touches of ballroom, martial arts, and hip hop. Mamta Singh, Executive director for JCFamilies, took a moment to speak to me and was proud to announce how much she enjoys hosting this event every year . Mamta immigrated to the United States herself thirteen years ago and founded JCFamilies as a way “to provide a wholesome parenting experience.”
It’s All About Parenting Experiences
In between managing the festival and announcing upcoming performances, JCFamilies founder Mamta Singh expressed “I love when parents say we did not know anyone and now we have a group of friends.” “When I came from India I didn’t know anyone and I created my support through this,” said Singh. She went on to say “so many families come from different backgrounds and don’t know where to look for information. We can even help connect parents to information about simple things to do like where to grab brunch or events happening in the city.”
Rebecca, her husband and their children, ages 20 months and five years old, visited the park today to join in the celebration of diversity. Rebecca told me “I look for events like these on social media, and do a lot of Instagram searches. I try to get out and connect with other families as often as I can.”
A Global Village
Although JCFamiles is based in Jersey City, families from the surrounding area are welcome to attend also. Hosting up to 20 events per year, all JCFamilies events are free and open to the community. Educational fairs, Harvest Festival, and the “biggest in the area” Halloween Parade are held in local parks and listed on the JCFamilies website.