Some 80 people gathered Wednesday for our Student Showcase at the St. Andrew Church Community Center. Students of Deb Tavares (shown above) shared compelling stories. A boy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who is just learning English related how his father survived and escaped war; a Muslim girl from East Africa spoke of how she has come to love wearing her hijab; and a student from Mexico showed a photograph of the truck his father uses for his landscape business, a job that leaves him exhausted, but "this is how we make a life."
Yo Ghana Board member Dr. Labissiere shared the delights and fears of growing up in Haiti and how coming to the U.S. brought new challenges of racial and personal identity. Yo Ghana Project Coordinator Ibrahim Ibrahim emceed, young Maddie from Fowler Middle School read some fine letters on overcoming hardship from Ghana, and a bunch of students received awards. Students and teachers from Reynolds High School, Vernon School, St. Andrew Nativity School, Fowler Middle School, George Middle School, Campfire Columbia, and Judson School--all the way from Salem!--attended.
Kwame Anthony Appiah, the distinguished philosopher born to an English mother and a Ghanaian father, remarks in Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers: "when the stranger is no longer imaginary, but real and present, sharing a human social life, you may like or dislike him, you may agree or disagree; but, if it is what you both want, you can make sense of each other in the end."
Thank you to our students for their courage in sharing their stories and the attendees for listening. I think we are well on our way to making sense of each other--and much more.