Program: Multi-Cultural Reception
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
This program provides an opportunity for all ethnic groups to come together in a social setting in celebration of cultural diversity. Individuals meet and interact with persons of other cultures, and meet the Chief of Police and other ranking police officials. This event provides a festive atmosphere where a variety of ethnic foods are available to sample, and attendees are encouraged to wear clothes customarily worn in their native countries.
2. When was the program created and why?
The Multi-Cultural Reception was created in 1992. Historically in Houston, each major ethnic group celebrates its own heritage/holidays according to custom/tradition. The Multi-Cultural Reception endeavors to bring a touch of each heritage and tradition into one arena, where attendees experience cultural differences in a non-threatening environment.
3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?
The effectiveness of this program is basically measured by continued excitement and support from all segments of the community, which ultimately generates into feelings of goodwill and support for the police department.
4. How is the program financed?
The program is totally underwritten by the corporate and business community of Houston, Texas.
5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?
Between 700-1,000 persons attend the Multi-Cultural Reception each year. The goal in the establishment of this event was to promote positive interaction between all ethnic groups and to assist in breaking down communication barriers between the community at large and the police department.
6. What are the major lessons learned that would be helpful for others trying to implement a similar program?
The major lessons learned from this project are: (1) people want to become familiar with other cultures; (2) we must be mindful to respect the rights and desires of each ethnic group to remain loyal to their own heritage; and (3) programs such as this help to raise awareness of the benefits of cultural diversity.
7. What specific advice do you have for mayors interested in replicating a program such as yours?
Create effective, sensitive and proactive programs, under the direction of an ethnically diverse, professional staff dedicated to facilitating positive ethnic and cultural relationships, and which fosters communication links between the police department and each ethnic community.For more information, please contact:
Yvette Chargois, Assistant Director
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352