Exploring the beauty of diversity in our Tampa community

Rise Above Recipe for UnityFollowing the unspeakable tragedy at Parkland, it’s easy to feel discouraged by the political discord in our country. But as we’ve seen in Parkland, there is good news on the horizon: our children are fighting for a future where each person’s life is protected and valued.

Knowing our country lies in the hands of our intelligent, fearless and civically engaged youth, is why I was thrilled to have students from RCMA Wimauma Academy and their parents join Florida’s inaugural Recipe for Unity meal on March 10.

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Recipe for Unity is part of the UnidosUS’s Rise Above initiative, and its goal is to encourage people from all walks of life to join hands with members of their community – across racial, political and socioeconomic divides – for a multicultural potluck meal and conversation about the value of diversity. UnidosUS has been working tirelessly with local affiliates like RCMA to plan these meals in cities across the country. At these potlucks, guests bring dishes that are significant to their families, communities, or culture, and share why it’s important to them with the people around the table.

By breaking bread and connecting over a mutual love of food, attendees begin to build relationships that exemplify how diversity makes our communities stronger.Rise Above Recipe for UnityOur Recipe for Unity meal at Wimauma Academy reflected the diversity of perspectives that we have here in Tampa. We were thrilled to welcome guests from Mexico, Belgium, Cuba, Guatemala and India – and first and second generation Americans whose families immigrated from Ireland, Germany and Russia in hopes of a better life in the United States. Attendees took turns speaking in Spanish and English so that all guests could understand and contribute to the conversation, learn from each other and create a truly inclusive environment.

And of course, throughout the day, children led the way. Yesenia, a middle school student, brought enchiladas because they reminded her of her late mother. Meanwhile, another student, who recently won a state-wide math competition alongside her RCMA classmates, described how proud she was of her team and how working together gave her a strong sense of community. Wimauma’s preschool students even created special placemats for the event that guests could take home with them.

Rise Above Recipe for Unity

After sharing this beautiful experience with members of the Tampa community, I’m excited to see this movement make its mark on our country. In fact, I encourage anyone who is interested in this work to check out the toolkit and consider hosting your own Recipe for Unity event. It’s sure to be an experience you will never forget – and it can help make our communities and our country stronger.

Rise Above Recipe for Unity

– Redlands Christian Migrant Association

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