Locals perform at concert to help immigrants

Local+performers+sing+in+Dolphin+Bookshop+during+the+Interfaith+concert.+The+event%2C+%22Welcoming+the+Stranger%2C%22+was+both+a+musical+celebration+and+a+fundraiser+for+local+immigrants.

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Local performers sing in Dolphin Bookshop during the Interfaith concert. The event, “Welcoming the Stranger,” was both a musical celebration and a fundraiser for local immigrants.

Lindsey Smith and Leah Doubert

On Dec. 13, nearly 100 Port Washington residents and local performers gathered at Dolphin Bookshop for a fundraiser to support Deportation Defense Clinic at the Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law.  The event, which was called “Welcoming the Stranger,” raised over $2,000 that will go towards services, education, advocacy programs for immigrants living on Long Island who are facing potential deportation.  People of all different faiths and religions were in attendance to display the message that immigrants should be welcomed into our country with open arms.
The event featured different musical performers, such as jazz singer Jessica Medina, the St. Stephen’s Singers, and contemporary vocalist Trish Molyneux.
“Although I was not able to go to this event, I find it interesting that so many people were able to attend and support others who are not so fortunate as to have a secure place to call home,” said sophomore Maddie Hiller.
The event featured the Willow Interfaith Women’s Choir, Bhajan singer Anju Jain, folk singer and guitarist Lisa Jay, and Rochelle Potak, a Port Jewish Center composer and soloist.  Even though these musicians perform drastically different genres of music, they were able to come together and collaborate for this cause.
“It’s awesome that people are making efforts to help immigrants, especially on such a local level,” said senior Lauren Seltzer.  “I’m proud to live in a community where people who come from different places are offered help when faced with difficult situations; it’s our job to make sure everyone is welcome here.”
The idea of different groups of people working together teaches people to accept those who are not exactly like them and to help those people gain the rights that they deserve.
The Hofstra School of Law created the Deportation Defense Clinic, or DDC, to protect immigrants who are at risk of deportation.  The clinic focuses mainly on immigrants with removal orders and those who came to the United States as a child and have continued to live their lives here.  Being that there are an estimated 99,000 undocumented immigrants living in Nassau and Suffolk counties, the organization is always looking for new ways to raise money and awareness.
“It’s so upsetting that there are people who have to face this constant fear of deportation.  It’s comforting to know that there are groups out there doing everything they can to help them stay in this country,” said sophomore Stacey Kim.
The organization is also helping the students involved to gain insight on the world around them.
“This organization could help the students have perspective on their issues and realize how fortunate they are,” said sophomore Peter Epp.
The clinic collaborates with different community to expand this organization and reform immigration policies.
“I like that this organization is working to help people who can’t really help themselves and would like a fair chance to live in this country,” said sophomore Julia Semilof.
The Deportation Defense Clinic has encouraged others to help immigrants stay in the United States.  The event raised an abundance of money for the Deportation Defense Clinic, assisting Hofstra Law students towards reaching their goal.  This organization has brought a great deal of attention towards the problem of many immigrants facing deportation on Long Island and has encouraged others to help the people in need.
“It’s so nice to hear that people of various cultures and religious backgrounds are able to overlook their differences in order to help those in need,” said sophomore Maansi Shroff.
Everyone coming together to support people who are facing hardships demonstrates how Port Washington is a collective community.