Houston tops the list of most diverse cities in the United States, according to a 2019 WalletHub ranking.
The annual survey compared 501 American cities across several key factors, including socioeconomic, cultural, economic, household, and religious diversity.
At Eagle's Trace, the Erickson Living-managed community in West Houston, residents and staff celebrated the city's multicultural fabric at the second annual Diversity Fair.
"Harris County has the most diverse population in the United States, and I think we are representing that well," said Associate Executive Director Michael Friedel, welcoming residents, staff, and family members' guests to the fair. "Thanks to so many of you for bringing artifacts, food, and clothing to represent your cultures and your countries. It's through sharing our gifts that we become a stronger community, and that's certainly on display here today."
A cultural showcase
The celebration of cultures included booths, sponsored by residents and staff, which lined the perimeter of The Garden Room Restaurant, each one representing a different country or heritage.
It was a colorful and tasty affair as participants dressed in cultural attire, and many booths offered a variety of ethnic foods.
At the India and Pakistan booths, guests sampled pakodas and samosas, served with a coriander dip and a tamarind dip.
At the Germany table, resident Ingrid Bezman offered samples of apple strudel, which she baked early that morning.
"I'm from Tübingen, Germany," says Ingrid. "I left in 1955 to study languages. I lived in Sweden, England, France, and Canada before coming to Houston."
Carolyn Sears discovered a shared cultural tie with her new neighbors when she moved to Eagle's Trace.
"My husband and I lived in Norway three times over the course of his career," says Carolyn. "When we moved to Eagle's Trace, we learned our neighbors Walmy and Erik Sveen were from Norway."
Carolyn and Walmy hosted the Norwegian booth at the fair, showcasing artifacts from the Nordic country.
In one corner of The Garden Room Restaurant, guests sampled Ethiopian coffee, poured by Faven Metaferia, sister of Meselech Hailegiorgis, who works in the continuing care neighborhood on campus.
Religious and regional diversity was also on display as the Jewish community at Eagle's Trace hosted a booth, as did Home Support Coordinator Chaney Wolf, a former barrel racer who hosted the Texas booth.
Ina Berryman moved to Eagle's Trace in early 2018 and attended last year's Diversity Fair. This year, she sponsored the Native American booth.
"My dad was from the Cherokee tribe, so this is a great way to honor his heritage," says Ina.
Celebrating diversity together
The Diversity Fair concluded with a talent and fashion show highlighting cultures and dances from around the world. A line dance, organized by the fitness team at Eagle's Trace, turned into a spontaneous dance party with audience members leaving their seats to join in.
The festivities were organized by the Erickson Living Values Team.
"This was a group effort," says Memory Care Manager Vini Fernandez, who helped plan the event. "We had team captains who coordinated different aspects of the fair. We had a captain for international foods, one for talent and fashion, and another for tables and artifacts. Everyone worked together to make this day a success."