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Caltrans  employees, Diversity Day participants and volunteers display their newly-learned international dance moves.

DIVERSITY DAY, 2006
by  Jeanne Bonfilio
Issue Date: 10/2006

Great music, delicious international food samplings and amazing dancing...

Diversity Day, 2006 was held on September 13 amid a whirlwind of fun, pride, enthusiasm and smiling faces as employees from the District 7 Office Building gathered together to gain knowledge from one another about their cultures, nations of origin and diverse backgrounds.  Marian Woo, Chief, Equal Employment Opportunity, coordinated the grand and colorful event with her staff members James Deno, Tracey Lavelle and James Crouse – as well as a long list of dedicated committee members and enthusiastic volunteers. 

District Director Doug Failing kicked off the event by encouraging everyone to “get to know more about each other -- and have a wonderful time!”

“The main purpose of Diversity Day is to observe and learn more about the cultures and the people that we work with every day -- and to enjoy themselves,” added Woo.  “While we may all come from different ancestries, in reality, we are all very similar.”  

Great music, delicious international food samplings and amazing dancing were some of the highlights of the day.

Woo wishes to thank the following committee members for their hard work and contributions to the successful event: Asian Pacific State Employees Association: Milly Yamada and Yuen Wong; Arab Americans: Dina El-Tawansy and Amjad Obeid; Bangladesh: Mohammed Cowdhury and Jalil Khan; California Bear Credit Union: Tiffani Villarreal; Chinese: Michelle Quan and Lisa Peng; Descendants of Africa: Stephanie Jones; Filipino: Joy A. Dalaten (LADOT), Rhodara Cristobal and Vic Valido; India: Jiwanjit (JP) S. Palaha and H. Anahth; Latin America: Refugio Dominguez and Maria D. Rodriguez; Natives of California: Keith Sellers; Iran: Betty Bahraini and Bijan Pirzadeh; and Vietnamese: Trilly Nguyen.

Woo also thanks the following volunteers: John Epolito, for setting up and breaking down the canopies and supervising the maintenance workers; Paul Giamichele, for ordering the canopies and getting them to the event on time; John Poppe, for funding the canopies; Boyd Mitchell, for providing staff to assist with lifting heavy objects and set-up needs; Danny Sanchez, Joe Hernandez and Richard Ayala for supplying ice; Captain Gray for his leadership and furnishing security services; Raashan Bernard, for helping with tables and chairs; William Blanco for assisting in the set-up; Trilly Nguyen for designing this year’s banner; the Graphic Arts Unit for assisting the committee with all the printing needs; Steve Devorkin for working on video; Thomas Ritter for the still photography; Tim Baker for public address system assistance; Begin’s Café for their partnership providing beverages; disc jockey Medardo De La Cruz; and from the Department of General Services, Sam Yonan for his help and assistance; Burt Brilliant for ensuring that our electrical needs were met; and the entire DGS staff who offered their support.

Woo also said she appreciates the positive responses during and after the event.  “We always welcome everyone’s comments and encourage volunteerism,” Woo concluded.  “The magic of a successful event is teamwork!”

Employees can view an additional 600 great photos of Diversity Day by logging onto the Caltrans INTRANET website.

Diversity Day Committee Members and Sub-Committee Members gather just prior to the fabulous event. District Director Doug Failing interacts with dancers at the Diversity Day event.