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Norwood Together’s Welcome America Dinner

How many of your Norwood neighbors have been to Sri Lanka? Experienced the rich culture of Venezuela? Enjoyed a family style meal in Palestine or Jordan? On September 12, the Norwood Welcomes America Dinner will highlight the rich culture woven into Norwood and its people.

Welcome America Week is a national movement observed in the second week of September. Along with Welcome America Week events around the country, the Norwood Welcomes America Dinner, sponsored by Norwood Together, asks immigrants in the community to take the lead. Norwood residents from Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Palenstine, and Jordan planned the sold-out family-style dinner, which will bring 50 neighbors together at Lower Millcrest Park to share a meal and their cultures. 

“​​Norwood is a diverse community, and yet we all can naturally gravitate towards and build relationships with people like us.  You bond over shared interests, ways you were raised, or shared values,” said Carson Sotelo, Norwood Together event chairman. “This event serves as a catalyst… The person who before felt profoundly different from you is now sharing a meal from their culture with you. You experience a piece of their life.  You’re neighbors and equal members of the Norwood community.” 

After last year’s virtual event for Norwood Welcomes America Week, we felt the excitement of our community when we had the opportunity to celebrate this year in the form of an international picnic. An example of what those participating will get to experience is a taste of Palestine through a traditional dish called Qidreh, or lamb with rice stewed with spices in a heavy copper or brass pot, best served with a fresh tomato salad and yogurt sauce. The dish is designed for shared meals and is often cooked in communal wood fired ovens. Sotelo adds, “The ultimate goal is to create a Norwood where people from all cultures are known, respected, and loved.”