Ken Fountain

Ken Fountain is the managing editor of the Fort Bend Star.

Last week in this space, I discussed Fort Bend County's incredible diversity, which has gained notice from near and far. As I noted, Fort Bend may be the single most diverse county in the United States, with the four major racial groups at near parity, the result of demographic trends that have played out over the past three decades or so.

Since I wrote that column, I've reported on three events that shone a light on that diversity.

On Sunday, November 20, the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia hosted the "Wonderful Indonesia Festival" at Sugar Land Town Square. This was the first time the event had been held since the pandemic, and the second time it was held in our county after years at the Consulate headquarters in the Westchase District. (By the way, if you've never been there, I recommend going and checking out the museum of Indonesian culture and history on the first floor).

Consulate officials and Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman noted that this area is a natural for the festival, given the growing cultural and economic ties between Indonesia and Fort Bend.

At the festival, you could of course see lots of people from Indonesia, which itself is a highly diverse country. But you could also see all kinds of faces of people who may have had no experience with that country but were excited to take in its sights, sounds, and tastes. People eagerly tried their hand at playing the angklung, a traditional wooden instrument that works somewhat like a handbell.

The next evening, the Fort Bend Interfaith Community held the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at St. Laurence Catholic Church in Sugar Land, the first time in-person since the pandemic. This was the first time I'd attended the event, although I have in the past attended a similar event held at the Rothko Chapel in Houston's Museum District.

As at the Rothko, the Fort Bend Service featured representatives of numerous faiths: Christian (Catholic and Protestant), Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Unitarian Universalism, Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and the Baháʼí faith. Some recited from their faiths' scriptures, some offered prayers, some performed music, and some even enacted ancient stories.

Despite some rainy weather, a large crowd filled the St. Laurence sanctuary (a beautiful space, by the way), warmly taking in a little of the various faith traditions, many of which they may not have been familiar with. After the service, a reception was held at the church's community center, where folks of different faiths could get to know each other a bit.

The third event, last Sunday, was the Small Business Holiday Market at Sugar Land Town Square. There was nothing explicitly "diverse" about this event. Under a bright sky, visitors simply browsed and bought gift items from the wide variety on offer. But the vendors and patrons alike were from all walks of life, gathering together to do a little shopping and enjoy a lovely afternoon.

In a highly divisive time, especially after a period of hardship like we've experienced these past few years, it's just nice to see people out and about, enjoying each other's company.

As always, if you have story ideas or news tips, or just want to point me toward some of the great aspects of our community, send an email to KFountain@fortbendstar.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.