#CreatingHomeTogether: A #WelcomingWeek Experience | Welcoming America

#CreatingHomeTogether: A #WelcomingWeek Experience

Welcoming America is proud to kick off Welcoming Week 2020 with this fun, inspiring and interactive streaming event.

During this kickoff event, you will enjoy -

  • Global music and dance performances (get up and dance with us!)
  • Messages of welcoming and support
  • Inspiring and personal stories
  • And a surprise or two!

This free event will livestream via Welcoming America Facebook and YouTube pages, so share the event with your network, start a viewing party and have fun!

Order of events:

  • Introductions by Welcoming America staff
  • Music performance of “Vivir mi vida” by Piel Canela
  • Storytelling by John Oliver Santiago
  • Dance performance by Get Empowered
  • Q&A part I by YMCA of the USA
  • Dance lesson by Get Empowered
  • Storytelling by Niken Carpenter
  • Video message from the YMCA of the USA
  • Storytelling by Joanna Abraham
  • Appearance by Kristina Wong
  • Q&A part II by YMCA of the USA
  • Storytelling by Orran Booher
  • Closing statement and song introduction by André De Shields
  • Music performance of “Home” from The Wiz musical by Jade Litaker

Bios of performances and storytellers (in order of appearance):

Piel Canela:  Piel Canela is a premier musical band from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico that performs primarily rumba, jazz, funk, mariachi, and pop. The band’s name means “brownish skin.”

John Oliver Santiago: A native of the Philippines, John Oliver Santiago is a youth alumni leader at the YMCA of Greater Long Beach in California. He advocates for youth development, social justice, and youth participants of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a federal program for undocumented immigrants.

Get Empowered: Get Empowered! is a coalition of professional artists, mentors, and ambassadors that integrates multicultural arts and education. Leandro and Janete Silva, two Samba artists from Brazil, will guide livestream participants through Samba dance moves during the dance lesson portion. 

Niken Astari Carpenter: Niken Astari Carpenter is Executive Assistant to the Mayor of the City of Erie in Pennsylvania. A native of Indonesia, Niken is also a community organizer, project manager, refugee and immigrant liaison.

YMCA of the USA: The YMCA is a global organization with an inclusive mission in over 119 countries focused on strengthening community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. For more than 160 years, the Y has provided immigrants with support and resources to integrate and fully participate in American society. 

Joanna Abraham: Joanna is an immigration and refugee lawyer based in Australia who works with migrants and asylum seekers through Victoria Legal Aid. As a migrant and cultural hybrid herself, Joanna is a champion for diversity in the legal profession and wider community, as well as helping the vulnerable with access to justice and legal advice. She is a board member of the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition.

Kristina Wong: Kristina Wong is a performance artist, comedian, writer, actor, and elected representative of the Wilshire Center Koreatown Sub-district 5 Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles, CA. Kristina was featured in The New York Times’ “Off Color” series which highlighted artists of color who use humor to make social statements about race in America.

Orran Booher: Orran Booher is the owner of Baker Dude Bakery Cafe in Atlanta, GA. A native of Jamaica, Orran is also a veteran of the U.S. Army. Through his cafe, Orran is actively involved in the nonprofit community of Atlanta.

André De Shields: André De Shields is an accomplished musical actor with a career spanning 50 years. Among his numerous achievements include a Tony Award for his performance as Hermes in the musical Hadestown; a Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown; and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in the 1982 NBC broadcast of Ain't Misbehavin'. De Shields is best known for his performances in the legendary musicals The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On!, and The Full Monty. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” and on The CW in “Katy Keene”.

Jade Litaker: Jade Litaker is a singer and actor based in New York City who has performed in the musicals Heathers, Rent, and Bare: A Pop Opera.

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