On Tuesday, April 18th, Saint Ann’s hosted Brooklyn in Solidarity with Immigrants and Refugees, the product of some three months of planning. Organized in conjunction with three other Brooklyn schools—the Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn Friends School, and the Packer Collegiate Institute–Brooklyn in Solidarity served as a platform through which students were able to forge community connections, discuss pressing issues, and learn from an expert panel. The event commenced with an address from Saint Ann’s student Tobias Berggruen ’18 (which can be read here), followed by an “ice-breaker”–a game entitled “The Wind Blows,” which explores issues of identity and belonging.
The group then broke into four small groups, each tasked with responding creatively to various prompts (e.g. “What do you need?,” “What scares you?”)–through words or art.
Before beginning our panel discussion, enjoyed was a much-needed pizza interlude, during which those attending heard from each head of school–Dr. Bruce L. Dennis (Packer), Mr. Bob Vitalo (Berkeley Carroll), Dr. Larry Weiss (Brooklyn Friends), and Dr. Vince Tompkins (Saint Ann’s)–all four extolled the initiative students took in organizing Brooklyn in Solidarity, while also noting a continuing need for direct action and critical analysis.
The evening’s final component was perhaps its most important: a panel on the experiences of immigrants and refugees, which included the following speakers:
- Any Rivera – New York State Youth Leadership Council
- Pray Patel – Immigration Legal Program with Lutheran Social Services of New York
- Zainab Abdullah – 16-year-old Arab American Family Support Immigration Activist
- Kaberi Banerjee-Murthy – Brooklyn Community Foundation
- Adama Bah – activist (read about her story in a New York Times feature here)
The Arab American Family Support Center is hosting a Heritage Celebration celebration with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, coming up on Thursday April 27 at Brooklyn Borough Hall from 5:30pm-8pm. The Keynote Speaker will actress, comedian, and disability advocate Maysoon Zayid, and a wide range of people from Brooklyn’s Arab-American community will be honored. There will also be delicious food and great live music.
They are also hosting a Know Your Rights Immigrant Workshop with CUNY CLEAR at Borough Hall on April 25. Both events are free and open to the public, and would welcome Saint Ann’s students interested in attending.
Here is a link to RSVP for Heritage Celebration.
The Arab-American Family Support Center is “the first and largest Arabic-speaking trauma-informed social service agency in New York City.” As a settlement house, it is devoted to helping recent immigrants acclimate to their new surroundings, and provides educational, legal, and medicinal support.
For further information on the Arab American Family Support Center, please visit: www.aafscny.org.
- April 28th from 6:30-8:30pm @ 108 East 89th Street – Dalton Syrian Refugee Panel
- May 4th from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm @ Packer Collegiate Institute – Film Screening and Panel on the Syrian Refugee Crisis
- May 13th from 11am-2pm @ Cadman Plaza – Next Generation Now Youth Rally & March
- May 20th from 9am-5:45pm – IYECon Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference