Come join us for a benefit for Syrian refugees, featuring music by Hello Psychaleppo!, Amwaaj, and Pocket of Resistance, and a photo exhibit by Syrian photographer Osama Esid. We will be hearing speakers, writing love letters to refugees, signing a banner that will go to a refugee camp, sending postcards to politicians, and eating tasty Middle Eastern food created in-house by Golden’s Lebanese-American front-of-house manager, Elizabeth Thomas. Felafel? Elizabeth’s food will make you feel better. 🙂
Proceeds benefit the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a nonpolitical, nonprofit medical relief organization that is working on the front lines of crisis relief in Syria and neighboring countries to alleviate suffering and save lives. SAMS proudly provides medical care and treatment to every patient in need.
Minnesota has long prided itself as being a state that accepts refugees and immigrants with open arms. 40 years ago the first Hmong refugees arrived in Minnesota; today they help define Minnesota in a deeply unique and powerful way. There are countless other groups, from a variety of backgrounds and faiths, that have found Minnesota to be a welcoming home. They have had an invaluable role in building the culture of Minnesota and helping it become one of the most livable and affluent states in the entire country.
Co-sponsored by Minnesotans for Syrian Refugees, a group of Minnesotans who support the resettlement of Syrian refugees in our state and show solidarity with the people of Syria in their struggle for safety, Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria (CISPOS), and the MN Caravan of Love.
About the Speakers
- Dr. Aref Al-Kali is a hematologist who has practiced in Minnesota for the last 7 years and serves as the vice chair of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS)
- Lindsey Smith, a Minneapolis native Nurse Practitioner, has volunteered with SAMS offering medical care for several camps in Northern Greece. She was part of the first team that responded to the crisis of 35,000 refugees stranded along the Greek-Macedonian border after military presence sealed the border. Her most recent trip, in September, continued this work in 4 different military camps where 5,000 people await asylum.
- Mazen Halabi, a Syrian-American and community activist, left Syria following the Hama massacre in February 1982 in which more than 40,000 people were killed by the then-President Hafez Assad. He has advanced degrees in computer science and business, works in the computer industry, and lives with his wife and son in Champlin, MN. Mr. Halabi is the public relations director of Watan; a Syrian civil society organization that provides humanitarian aid to families in Syria and works on the long term building of the civil society in Syria.
- Reem El-Radi is a Sudanese-American professor in the Arts and Sciences Department at Dunwoody College of Technology. Her research interest is on resettlement experiences of women refugees in Minnesota. Her doctoral research, “The Resettlement Experiences of Southern Sudanese Women Refugees” provided a deeper understanding of the process through which women refugees attempt to balance their life demands as they adjust to norms and values of the U.S. society. This work is highly important since little qualitative research has been conducted on women refugees’ lived experiences, and the dissertation has direct practical implications for providers of social services, adult educators, and policy makers.
- A speaker from ISAIAH, a vehicle for congregations, clergy, and people of faith to act collectively and powerfully towards racial and economic equity in the state of Minnesota.
- Janne Eller-Isaacs, from the Unity Church-Unitarian in Saint Paul, speaking about the sanctuary movement.
About the Photo Exhibit by Osama Esid
Syrian photographer Osama Esid’s moving works explore notions of his own personal identity and the communities he is a part of. For one of his most recent series he traveled to Syrian Refugee camps in Turkey to photograph his subjects. Watch an 8-minute MN Originals documentary about Osama:
About the Musicians: Amwaaj, Pocket of Resistance & Hello Psychaleppo!
Bands will play throughout the night in the order below
Amwaaj (meaning “waves” in Arabic) is a classical Arabic Music Ensemble comprised of Salah Fatah (violin, pictured below), Dawn Doering (nay), Mohamed Lulu (accordion), Yaron Klein (oud), and Tim O’Keefe (percussion and buzuq). The idea of Amwaaj was born during an Arab music retreat twenty years ago.
Amwaaj strives for a musical balance between classical and traditional/contemporary forms of Arab music. Their repertoire includes some dabke, popular songs by Sabah Fahkri from Aleppo, along with Egyptian, Fairuz and classical music. Listen to an MPR report on Amwaaj founder Salah Fatah, including music.
Pocket of Resistance is the rolling music project of Scottish singer-songwriter Nigel Parry. Based in the United States, Nigel released his debut “This Side Of Paradise” album in February 2001, featuring songs inspired by his time working at Birzeit University in the Palestinian West Bank. Pocket is folk punk world jazz fusion, with the 1980’s in there somewhere.
“Hello Psychaleppo!“ is a project fusing Arab heritage music and electronic sounds. Rare melodies of the bedouin “Mawwals” and choirs of old Tarab are carefully crafted with electronic solos and traditional “old school “arrangements giving this music a highly distinguishable and contemporary feel.
Pocket in the Press
“[This Side of Paradise] …is a disc whose recommendation is its deftly managed intensity” — New Internationalist magazine, August 2001.
“Deeply moving songs… With quiet intensity, Parry gives voice to this ‘invisible people’ living under siege.” — Lydia Howell, KFAI Radio, 90.3/106.7FM, Twin Cities, MN.
“[This] ‘rolling band’ will also rock and have a few things to say, maybe challenge your zone of comfort and definitely entertain.” — Saint Paul Almanac