My Mom only worked half a day so I could go. My friend from church was going to watch Kyle and Jubilee, but then she had to go to the hospital! I called to find out more about the reception, and realized it really wasn't something that Kyle and Jubilee would sit through. So it looked like I'd have to go alone, but who wants to do that? Then, out of the blue, my Sister in Law Candice texted me about this afternoon and getting together, and a plan was thus born!!! Thank God for Candice, she made the whole thing a wonderful experience.
Without further adieu, I present Embracing Our Differences Long Island.
The art pieces were all blown up to billboard size and were outside, a beautiful, sprawling art exhibit amidst fountains and falling Autumn leaves. It was kind of wonky weather, so the reception was held inside at the art museum, but you could walk around and look at the exhibit before the reception.
Here is where the museum put us. It was supposed to be all outdoors, but they accomodated us very well. It was interesting to be in a museum again... I got to see lots of art that is currently on display (not our exhibit) and they even had refreshments for us!
I had a blast looking around, even at the ceiling!
After we all sat down, they told us to go back outside and watch the performances by the Mahanaim ESL Study Tour Students- two groups who did outstanding dance routines! Click on the last two links to see small youtube tidbits of the dance! :)
There were many people who spoke once we settled back inside, each meaningful and poignant and very integral to the overall ceremony. Here are some of them:
Balbinger Bhogal, Chair, Sikh Studies, Hofstra University
Oliver Mashaka, political refugee
Leonila Romero Gonzalez, member, Las Patronas
This one was particularly meaningful. She was from Mexico and had a translator, but explained what she did that was inspired by her grandmother. In Mexico, a train passes by every day (I think), with migrants on the train. Sometimes they've been on the train for a long time, and they have a long way to go, and often they don't have any food to see them through. So every day, this woman and her family (and often student volunteers) cook rice and rush out to the train to toss the migrants bags of cooked rice and some bread. I can't even explain the gravity of the importance of what these people do... look at the photo I took of the pictures they passed around.
Last, but not least, we were all called up. We were presented tags, ribbons, and plaques when we signed in, and were duly honored and thanked. It was, overall, a wonderful ceremony with moving speakers, and I had a wonderful afternoon with my Sister in Law. I still can't get over seeing my art billboard size, blown up there for all the world to see. My Sister in Law even overheard people speaking about all the entries that there had been, and how many people had tried to be included. I am honored and blessed!
I would love to write more, but am still excited and reeling from the amazing experience...