Liberian celebration at the Northeast Kansas City Library

Posted June 17, 2014 at 11:00 pm

By Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
June 18, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – This past weekend, the Northeast community learned more about its immigrant neighbors.

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Spiritual song and dance. Shad Deah, right, led the audience in several, traditional Liberian song and dances on Saturday afternoon at the library’s celebration of Liberia. Joe Jarosz

With about 50 people in attendance, some with the Liberian community and others just curious to learn more about a different culture, the North-East Public Library, 6000 Wilson Rd., and Kansas City writer Rhiannon Ross hosted an afternoon celebrating a diverse immigrant community in Kansas City. The event included Liberian poetry, performance art, live music, fashion and traditional dance. The event concluded with a sampling of various West African cuisine. The program was presented by the Vox Narro project, which pairs writers and immigrant groups for a discussion of the cultural traditions and stories of immigrant communities.

The event was led by Rev. Shad Deah, of Our Redeemer Lutheran Chruch in the Northeast. Deah called the program a celebration for everyone. He explained that the Liberians have a diversified community, typically meeting to share old cultures and stories.

“There’s a strong Liberian community in Kansas City,” Deah said.

Deah is a member of the Krahn Tribe, which has lived through two civil wars in Liberia. Before immigrating to the United States, Deah was a teacher in his native land. He lead the audience in several songs and dances before answering questions from those in attendance.

The celebration brought out some curious minds, as well. Diane Youker, of Kansas City, Kan., said she read about the event on the Kansas City Library’s website and thought it sounded interesting.

“I’m always looking to learn more about cultures I don’t know much about,” Youker said. “I enjoy these types of programs at the library.”

David Hughes, of Kansas City, Mo., said he was aware of the program because he’s been following the programs hosted by the Vox Narro projects for over a year. With these programs, his interest in the Liberian culture has grown. Hughes added he’s glad to live in an area that promotes various cultures.

“I think it’s a good way to introduce the immigrant community to the Northeast and Kansas City while at the same time introducing all of us to the immigrant community,” Hughes said. “It’s good for folks to learn about other cultures.”