Organizers of a Halloween drive-through event in a northeast Calgary community said it’s all about diversity and getting everyone together.
Michelle Cavanagh, the outreach liaison for the Marlborough Community Association, emphasized the need to celebrate Halloween because of the negative impact that the pandemic has had on everyone in her community.
“We just want to bring out what we can and celebrate diversity and inclusivity,” she said. “Especially since with COVID, no one is really going out and exploring.”
“This is for everyone.”
All hands on deck
The event was brought to life by several different organizers who work to support immigrants in Calgary. This included the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA), Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC), and the Centre for newcomers.
Amira Abed, who works with CIWA as an outreach coordinator, emphasized the importance of community events such as this and said her group was happy to be part of such a significant celebration of community.
Many Marlborough residents drove through the parking lot of the community centre. They were handed candy and goodie bags by volunteers from the organizations.
A diverse community
Cavanagh added that diversity was at the forefront of the event. Marlborough has one of the highest immigrant populations in Calgary, and many of the families that live there are newcomers.
Some of the families and their children haven’t celebrated Halloween before. Cavanagh said they wanted to make sure that it would go on this year, with safety measures in place.
“You can feel the happiness of the kids,” said Huwayda Ogly, an immigrant, parent, and resident of the northeast community. “We feel safe, we don’t care about the difference in religions or cultures, we are Canadians, and that’s what matters.”
Ogly added that having an event like this, especially during the times we are living through, is important. It brings the community closer together.
“90 per cent of us are immigrants here,” she said.
“We don’t have relatives, but our family are our neighbours in the community.”