Vision and Core Values
At Culture Chatt, our vision is to illuminate the rich tapestry of global cultures in the Tennessee Valley. We are more than just event organizers; we are community cultural advocates dedicated to fostering understanding, appreciation, and celebration of the diverse cultural heritages that thrive within our community.
Our mission is rooted in the belief that cultural exchange and understanding are pivotal to building a vibrant, inclusive society. By showcasing the unique traditions, stories, and contributions of refugee and first-generation immigrants, we aim to enrich the cultural landscape of our region and beyond.
& Community Support
In our collaborative efforts with community partners, we focus on enriching the lives of refugees and first-generation citizens, building a network of support that extends throughout the Tennessee Valley. Our local partners, including the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, La Paz, Green Spaces, Tech Goes Home, A Step Ahead, and C.A.L.E.B., amongst others, are pivotal in this mission. We aim to create three crucial connections.
First, we bridge cultures by connecting refugee and first-generation citizens with locals in the Tennessee Valley. This initiative fosters mutual understanding and respect, enabling a rich exchange of cultural experiences and perspectives. Through various community events and programs, we provide platforms where these interactions can flourish, thereby enriching the cultural tapestry of our local community.
Second, we link refugees and first-generation citizens directly with our community partner organizations. These organizations offer a wealth of support and resources, ranging from legal assistance, educational programs, to job training. By facilitating these connections, we ensure that new community members have access to the tools and support they need to thrive in their new environment.
Third, we engage locals with these organizations, highlighting the welcoming nature of our community and the opportunities to support newcomers. Through this, we aim to cultivate a deeper understanding among local residents of the challenges faced by refugees and immigrants and how they can contribute to their support. By showcasing the work of our partner organizations, we hope to inspire more locals to get involved, whether through volunteering, advocacy, or other forms of support.
Overall, our collaborative approach is not just about providing aid, but about creating a vibrant, inclusive community where everyone, regardless of their background, can feel valued and empowered. Through these connections, we aim to build a stronger, more resilient community that thrives on diversity and mutual support.
Educational & Cultural Exchange
Education is at the heart of what we do.
Culture Chatt's events are carefully curated experiences that educate the public about the plethora of cultural backgrounds that form the mosaic of our community.
Our focus on the "Three C's" – Culture, Cuisine, and Craft – allows us to present an immersive and engaging exploration of different cultures. Through these elements, we invite the public to embark on a journey of discovery, understanding, and appreciation, fostering a sense of global citizenship and mutual respect among all community members.
Advocacy Through Activity
Our guiding principle is advocacy through activity. We believe in dynamically animating shared spaces to create a lively, engaging atmosphere where guests, vendors, and partners can connect and interact. Our events are more than gatherings; they are vibrant, interactive platforms for cultural exchange and advocacy. By bringing people together in celebration of diversity, we aim to create lasting impacts that transcend the events themselves, promoting unity, understanding, and a shared sense of community in the Tennessee Valley.
& BUILDING COMMUNITY
For us, it's more than a catchphrase. When immigrants and refugees arrive in America, they often have a hard time finding their circle. They have a hard time connecting with other immigrants or refugees, and often an even harder time connecting to the social web of their adopted homes.
Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley have so much to offer these folks, but these men, women, and children have a lot to offer to our area as well. We set out to connect locals—those who have been here their whole lives and those who got here yesterday—across cultural and language backgrounds to weave these disparate strands into one community tapestry.
Turning a Vision into Reality
Though my father was born in Cuba, I was an adult before I was able to travel to Cuba and spend time living with and like my Cuban family. It was like going home, but to a home you didn't know you were missing. As a teacher, I have tried to explain the intricacies of global cultures to my students, but I have learned that no lesson is more effective or evocative than experience. When we experience the array of cultures, languages, and cuisines that are all around us, we can understand the reality that is our global community, expressed locally.
Making Dreams Come True
When I first arrived in Chattanooga from Brazil, some of the greatest difficulties I faced were meeting new people, learning the culture of my new home, and finding help in navigating the challenges a new place—and a new language—presented. I love that I get to turn those challenges into helping people in the same situation, sharing Chattanooga with them, and helping to share their cultures with Chattanoogans. I am proud to be involved at the ground level, helping people in a hands-on way.
An International Community in my Hometown
For me, Culture Chatt is about community and advocacy. I have experienced world culture on trips to France, Costa Rica, Denmark, Greece, Cuba, Turkey, and more, and in my own family I have a breadth of cultural backgrounds including Cuban, Karuk (Native American), Eastern European (Ukrainian) Jewish, and American Southern. Seeing that my own hometown can contain a world's worth of culture and cultural experience makes me so happy, and working to ensure that immigrants to the Tennessee Valley can share their cultures and take advantage of the many opportunities available to them through our community partners is incredibly fulfilling.