Professor: Andie Silva
December 18, 2018
Project 3- Reflection on Diversity Plaza
“We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion. “is a popular quote said by Max De Pree (an author and a businessman). This quotation could be translated as there is no other thing beautiful as being with a diverse group of people. We need to promote and lend a hand toward diversity and also to our self to make our life and society better. We need to inspire and make people comfortable around us because a group made with people from different races, culture, religion, etc. could bring new concepts, cheerfulness and a sense of belonging in a new place.
I could connect this quote with one of the neighborhoods in Queens called “Diversity Plaza”. So, what exactly is Diversity Plaza? Diversity Plaza is an epicenter of culture, community, and vibrancy within New York City’s most diverse borough, Queens. It is a public plaza located in Jackson Heights, Queens. The plaza is situated at 37th Road from Broadway to 73rd and 74th Streets from Roosevelt Avenue to Broadway. Diversity Plaza has also become an iconic public space in Jackson Heights, proudly bringing the numerous different cultures, races, religion etc. of this community together in one vibrant plaza. Upon hearing the prompt of this project, I instantaneously had Diversity Plaza in my mind because, firstly, this is the neighborhood I grew up in.
I have seen so many activities and events occurred in Diversity Plaza, which brought the entire community and people together. For instance, the event “Helping Hand” brought the entire community together in support of the Nepal’s deadliest earthquake. People gathered in this place to donate food, clothing’s, money and to offer a helping hand and support. Second, the event “Fight for Equality”, brought the entire neighborhood in order to protest against the supreme court’s decision to ban Muslim earlier this year. People gathered around to show their support and to challenge the court’s decision and to show that we as a community stands hand to hand together no matter where you came from or what religion do you practice. Third, Diversity Plaza served as a unique place to celebrate equality and freedom. People visit and celebrate different festivals and events, but one of the most important events in my opinion was the LGBT Pride because not only it brings the whole community together but also people with different sexual orientation, background and gender preferences. Usually, these people are seen as an outcast by the society because of their preference. But, Diversity Plaza gives them a platform to show the community who they really are without any discrimination or harassment. It also gives them a feeling of safe community with everybody on their side.
In order to showcase my project’s full potential and meaning I had to choose this specific format and platform because it allowed me to show both information along with a visual representation together. The picture I took for this project was totally worth my time because not only it conveys the description digitally, but it also made me realize that this place is so much more than a small area in Jackson Heights. This place is a symbol of representing people from all parts of the world. This place gives a voice for people who are seen as weak and fragile. Mostly this plaza makes anyone and everyone feel like home.
Hosting an event is not easy let alone in a location where you know people will be attending for sure. While doing the research for this project I met with one of the coordinators from the organization “Newa Guthi” which organized the event, “Nepalese New Year”. They told me in order to host any event you need to take permission with the councilman’s office and only you will be able to host the event. The one thing that was hard to do during this project was to find the actual time to sit down with the coordinator because they were so busy with their daily life that, they barely had time for me. I had to keep on going to their office multiple times. The pictures and videos used for the project were taken by me since, I had attended all of the events. In order to gather information about the events and the location. I actually had to do some archiving, for an instant, I did not know the date when the Diversity Plaza was first opened and what events had taken place here which I did not knew about before.
Upon viewing my project, I believe that the audience will realize the significance of a single place. I also believe the viewers will also realize how having a small place in a neighborhood is important for everyone because it serves as a platform for everyone living in the community. After doing this project I came to learn that, Diversity Plaza has not only become a place in Jackson Heights for people to come to celebrate or commemorate or, when there is something happening locally or overseas of distress, whereas people are coming from all over the city here as a meeting place. That’s something Diversity Plaza was really intended to do, open its arm wide for everyone.