It began as an ordinary July 4 party, but morphed into something much bigger — both in terms of fun and symbolism.
Jashandeep Kahlon’s relatives and friends bonded at a BBQ, listening to upbeat Punjabi tunes in the garage of the family’s Stockton home. Nearby, a friend began to dance — by himself — in the middle of the street.
As Kahlon, 20, fretted that the music was too loud, a neighbor, of Mexican descent, walked over and joined in the fun. Quickly, the twosome swelled to nearly 25 people reveling in each other’s cultures.
“I never expected it to be like this,” said Kahlon.
The San Francisco State University basketball player said his family and a large group of neighbors frolicked on the road between their two houses for nearly an hour. The fun was captured on video, which has since gone viral.
“We would dance to their Mexican music and they would dance to our Punjabi music,” Kahlon said. "We all were just having fun and enjoying it.”
The area that Kahlon calls home is multi-ethnic and peaceful, but neighbors mostly just greet each other in passing, he said. The July 4 celebration was a “great moment,” he said, during which people came together without worrying about their differences.
“We just danced,” Kahlon said, laughing. “In Punjabi, we have a dance called Bhangra and we were trying to show them some of our moves and it was cool because they were actually getting some of it down. And they were learning with us.”
It is not lost on Kahlon that the two cultures blended seamlessly at a time of political divisiveness in the United States.
“If you really look at the big picture, these were two minorities that were celebrating the independence of America, and two cultures celebrating each other in a country where we’re all the same people,” he said.