By Ed Deeb
October 16, 2008
People from across the country consider the Detroit area and all of Michigan the “Melting Pot” of the United States.
We have people from all ethnic groups who have assimilated here and who work and reside in our area. Many of them made our area their destination when Henry Ford inaugurated the auto assembly line in Detroit and $5 per day wages in the early 1900s.
When one talks about diversity here, we have it all. This is what makes our area so culturally interesting and fascinating. To take it all in, you might want to read the more than two dozen ethnic newspapers published across Michigan that cover the events, people and news from our diverse communities.
If you were to stand in one spot under the farmers’ sheds at Detroit’s historic Eastern Market, in a 15-minute period you would see people from all ethnic groups go by you. It’s quite a sight.
And such diversity is found beyond Detroit’s border. People of all backgrounds have called the Greater Grand Rapids area home, from the Dutch settlers to today’s Sudanese, Mexican, Chinese and Eastern European immigrants. Approximately 20,000 Asian Americans live in West Michigan, including people of Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and Indian heritage. Today, Grand Rapids public school students speak more than 40 languages and represent 53 countries of origin.
There’s no doubt that people from all over the world are in Michigan: Irish, Polish, German, Italian, Mexican, Greek, Chinese, Middle Eastern (Arabs, Chaldeans and Jews), Hispanic, African, Japanese, Indian, Dutch and Swede, to mention a few.
Festivals are featured every summer weekend from those of different heritage groups in all areas of our state including along the Detroit River at Hart Plaza.
If one seeks out an international food menu, we have gourmet food and beverage stores offering virtually every kind of ethnic food. We also have a fine array of gourmet restaurants throughout our state whose menus tickle one’s palate and whet the appetite.
In addition to the tasty food fare our state offers, we have thousands of men and women from all heritage groups who operate successful businesses - they employ people, pay taxes and contribute to the success of our cities and state.
Talk about diversity. We have it here. We’re Number One!