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Gathering Place works to keep cultural events authentic

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 18:33:06-04

TULSA -- Gathering Place is keeping diversity at the forefront, and ensuring the events they host hold true to their mission, that this is a park for everyone.

"It’s so important that you don’t make your decisions in a capsule," said Tony Moore, Executive Director of Gathering Place.

Christian Gonsoulin was walking around Gathering Place with his wife Thursday afternoon, when something caught her attention.

"It was cool for her to see her country being represented, so she’s from Ecuador originally, and being in Tulsa of all places to see something like this being celebrated is pretty cool," said Gonsoulin.

Flags from Central America and South America are flying at Tulsa's riverfront park, ready for their event La Fiesta de Tulsa.

"Our team has to believe in the culture of what gathering place is, a place for everybody, and if we believe that, I think that’s what provides the ultimate guest appearance for everyone that comes here," said Rodrigo Rojas, Director of Community Relations for Gathering Place.

Diversity is held to a high standard at Gathering Place. Not only do they want their team to be diverse, but they meet with leaders in different communities to make sure their events are authentic.

"It’s all about having that trust and ability to build that relationship and ask those questions routinely from time to time," said Rojas.

It's not just culturally, but geographically as well.

"Tulsa still unfortunately has a bit of geographic separation and so our friends in north Tulsa, it was important that we had a direct strategy to ensure that they also know this is a park for them as well," said Moore.

Last month, Gathering Place hosted Caribbean Vibes, and Friday is La Fiesta de Tulsa which embraces local Latin American cultures.

"In November we’ll have what will be Oklahoma’s tribal celebration that will focus specifically and what may end up being one of the large Native American festivals in the Midwest," said Moore.

While officials say they're not where they want to be, they're working every day to make sure everyone feels welcome and celebrated in the community.

"It takes progress, it takes time, we’re on our way I believe, I really do believe that," said Moore.

La Fiesta de Tulsa starts at 6 p.m. on Friday July 26, with live music, drinks, and festive food on the QuikTrip lawn.

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