The youth in Chicago started by celebrating Chinese New Year one evening inviting their friends, co-workers and family members to learn more about and understand a different culture. The idea caught on because people were interested in learning something new about other cultures and were happy to spend the evening meeting new people and making new friends.
The ones that followed, Latino night, African Night, Italian Night, continued to focus on a specific culture with foods, music, decorations, artistic expressions, discussions and sometimes even watching a related film. The word got out and more and more people attended, even young people from a local youth group.
The evenings were held at the Focolare Center in Chicago and simple conversations as people ate and mingled lead to questions about what is the Focolare. The youth then tried to offer how they live. They tell them that they live for unity and the Golden Rule which brings them to love their neighbor all throughout the day.
The most recent one was Middle Eastern Night. During this one they wanted to see what they could do to promote peace in the Middle East. Towards the end there was a simple candle lighting activity in the outside garden as a sign of solidarity.
The youth that organize these realize how they bring a lot of energy, allowing people to open up about their diversity. They say that it’s more than just my culture or your culture, but we are family, coming together to share our life and talents.