'We Are One' Festival Organizers Focused On Recruiting Younger People

Aug 17, 2018

Food, music and dance from Latino, Caribbean and African traditions will fill Manchester's Veterans Park this Saturday. But there’s also a focus on engaging young people to get involved with their communities

One of Diego Cataño’s favorite parts of the We Are One festival is when the music starts, and different people are dancing to beats from around the world. Cataño's been organizing these festivals for 18 years and besides bringing people from all backgrounds together he's also talking with younger Latinos about leading community events like this one.

“It’s nice to continue the traditions. Even though we’re here and American, we want to keep that culture alive,” he said.

Shaunte Whitted is the festival’s event coordinator.

“I’m the youngest one the committee, and I’m 41,” she said with a laugh.

Whitted has a strategy for talking with young adults at the festival in the hopes of getting them involved.  

“I first start off asking them if they had a good time. You have to identify or connect the person with the experience,” she said. Then she asks what flexibility they have.

“You should see if you can be involved, even in a little capacity,” Whitted said.

Cataño said getting this kind of participation is especially important in smaller cities like Manchester, that while diverse, have a smaller population of minorities compared to places like Boston or New York.