Last Saturday at Chesterfield's River City Sportsplex, first responders from across the Richmond area played soccer alongside members of the region’s multicultural community during the Community Cup tournament and cultural festival.
The free event -- a regional partnership between Chesterfield and Henrico counties, the City of Richmond and Virginia State Police – also featured music, food trucks, a kids zone with various fun activities, first responders’ vehicles on-site and information booths staffed by public safety agencies and local organizations.
Its objective is to encourage dialogue between first responders and multicultural communities, promote understanding and demonstrate that people from varied backgrounds can live, work and play together while appreciating both their similarities and their differences.
Bridging language and cultural barriers is even more critical for local governments as the region has become increasingly diverse over the past two decades. While most attention has been paid to growth in the Latino population, the influx of new arrivals truly is global in nature; there are now more than 100 different languages spoken in Chesterfield County Public Schools, and both Henrico and Richmond are seeing similar demographic trends.