Diversity lives through engagement

Do you remember when asylum shelters were burning in Saxony? When people were beaten on the Dresden streetcar because they were talking in a foreign language? Do you still have the images in your head when xenophobia motivated tens of thousands to demonstrate in Dresden and the masses chanted "Lügenpresse" (lying press), "Volksverräter" (traitors to the nation) or even "Absaufen, Absaufen" (sinking, sinking)? It is so easy to forget in these turbulent times.

What can be done to counter this hatred? Civil society found a possible answer in 2015 with the guest banquet "Dresden is(s)t bunt". The idea was to counter violence and verbally loud opposition with enriching, otherwise rather quietly lived togetherness. The simple concept of the event was to eat together, to enjoy food and cultures from all over the world and to talk to each other. And thanks to a lively response to the event, it has remained so to this day. Under the leadership of the Cellex Foundation in cooperation with AWO Saxony, CSD Dresden e.V. and Dresden - Place to be! the banquet for everyone entered its 6th edition on September 5, 2022.

The festival thrives on the participation of Dresden's urban society. This proved to be more committed than ever in 2022. This year, more than 105 cultural partners and 80 sponsors accepted the invitation to participate and served guests at nearly 240 tables. Three record numbers - there has never been so much hospitality. The event welcomed almost 5,000 guests.

We have taken the 6th Guest Supper as an opportunity to look at the achievements of Dresden's civil society. Our city has a bad reputation nationwide and even internationally as a hotspot of xenophobia. But Dresden also has an extremely committed civil society that supports the people coming to us on the long haul of integration.

Physician, researcher and entrepreneur Gerhard Ehninger of the Cellex Foundation noted that Dresden has changed. "Dresden has become more cosmopolitan since 2015. This positive development has many mothers and fathers. Institutions like TU Dresden and the other universities have been involved all these years, as have companies, initiatives, associations, the state goverment and individuals." The participation in the event "Dresden is(s)t bunt" reflects this commitment of the people, he said.

A selection of pictures by Anja Schneider can be found here.