Among them is the China-born Wu, his daughter Sofia and Transylvania University American literature professor Kremena Todorova, who is from Bulgaria.
The video has picked up a following on social media since its release April 11. It was previewed April 7 at a Smiley Pete event to benefit Kentucky Refugee Ministries and the Kentucky Equal Justice Center.
Wu said he got the idea for the video at a refugee and immigration event at the Kentucky capitol in which every person said, “I’m a Kentuckian.”
“It drove it home in a personal way, diversity and unity being two things that don’t conflict, but rather complement each other very well,” Wu said.
Ian Friley shot and edited the video. Music is from Cameroon native Achu Normad. Kentucky for Kentucky is offering prints and T-shirts for sale connected to the video, with proceeds going to benefit Kentucky Refugee Ministries and the Kentucky Equal Justice Center.
Participants include people who are both high and low-profile in the Lexington community, from restaurateur Mamadou “Sav” Savane from Guinea to Todorova from Bulgaria.
Wu started the project by going through his Facebook friends list: “I’ve been using Facebook as an organizing tool.”
Friley, who came to Lexington from Ashland, said that he welcomed the chance to work on the video: “Lexington has been great to me. When I get the chance to do community-minded projects, I will.”
Estabraq Al Falahi, the fellow in the white shirt in the video, came from Iraq. He is a student at Bluegrass Community & Technical College who works part time on the weekends as a driver for Uber and Lyft.
“I have to drive in the night, because I study in the day,” Al Falahi, 41, said.
His mother arrived last year and is staying with him now. The two had been apart since 2009.
Nada Shalash, who appeared in the video in a peach-colored headscarf, said her parents moved here from Palestine when she was a baby. Her younger sister Hoda also participated in the video; she is the young woman in the white headscarf.
“While I do consider myself very active in the Lexington community, for me and her … this was discussing how important it was for a Muslim female to be on the video,” Shalash said.
Part of Lexington’s diversity is a large Muslim community, Shalash said. She studied psychology at the University of Kentucky and is starting her master’s degree studies in clinical social work, also at UK.
Wu said that the video could easily be copied by other states. In fact, he encourages it.
“If I wanted to dream big, I would love for people in other states to pick up the idea,” he said.
Wu, who writes, cooks and broadcasts as the Culinary Evangelist, is working on his ramen restaurant, which will preview soon at The Summit at Fritz Farm. It will likely open in September, called Atomic Ramen.
“These people live among us,” Wu said of the video participants. “These are your neighbors, these are people you already know. … They’re not just American. They are Kentuckians, what makes Kentucky diverse and great.”