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Bhangra and Bollywood at the Houston Health Department

Mr. Stephen Williams (HHD Director) with staff and on the right ISKCON volunteers showcasing yoga and henna

Mr. Stephen Williams (HHD Director) with staff and on the right ISKCON volunteers showcasing yoga and henna

The Houston Health Department’s (HHD), celebration of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders month activities are organized by the Cultural and Linguistic Competency’s (CLC) group. Varsha Vakil is one of the CLC leaders and for the past couple of years has successfully hosted cultural events at the HHD to help employees gain a positive experience of the vibrant Asian culture.
The CLC group presents diverse cultural programs and activities to the HHD staff to promote cultural awareness. On Wed. May 24, 2017, *Unity in Diversity – The Majestic Asia* was celebrated with passion by the HHD staff. The Asian regions presented at the event were China, South Asia, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines. The event included presentations, dances and ethnic cuisine.
A delicious Indian vegetarian platter from Govinda’s restaurant included mouth-watering samosas that were a big hit among employees. Deep Foods and Drinks provided coconut water, mango, lychee and guava drinks. ISKCON Houston’s volunteers applied henna tattoos to staff both men and women who eagerly waited in line for their turn. A yoga session was held by ISKCON Houston’s Outreach Director Shobha Ramachandran. The director of the health department Mr. Stephen Williams attended the event along with Deputy Directors and Bureau Chiefs. All cultural and language barriers melted away with the warmth and camaraderie exhibited by the Asian event hosts.
The South Asian event preparation was started more than a month ago. A Bollywood dance medley was presented by talented staff Vinuthna Yetukuri, Angelica Harvey, Rakhee Sardar and Angela Gala-Gonzalez. An energetic Bhangra folk performance was presented by Thomas Johnson and Anand Gupta who kept practicing until the last minute before entering the auditorium. Staff participation from different cultural backgrounds created an innate palpable enthusiasm among other employees who wanted to sign-up for next year’s activities.


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