On Saturday, March 10, Claremont Canopy held our first event and fundraiser at the Rose Hills Theater at Pomona College. Many members of the local community came out on a rainy night to enjoy Syrian food and a special screening of the Ai WeiWei documentary "Human Flow."
It was a festive night, kicked off with the singing of "Happy Birthday" to our dear friend Abdul Kanjo and introducing him to an American staple- Costco birthday cake! There was a great energy as people mingled and enjoyed drinks provided by Last Name Brewery and Syrian appetizers catered by the Kanjo family. Many of our resettled friends were there and it was fun watching everyone getting to know each other.
With stuffed bellies, we all went into the theater to hear brief remarks by Canopy director, Christy Anderson. Christy spoke about our group and our hopes for this community. Then, to the delight of our new neighbors, she gave a special message in Arabic, which our friends assured us was (mostly) understandable.
"Human Flow" is a beautifully filmed look at refugee movements around the world. The film took us into refugee camps, along the escape routes that snaked through multiple countries, and into the minds of those fleeing oppression and violence. It was sobering and moving, but also very humanizing. I think we were all able to conceptualize this overwhelming crisis in a very individual way.
This fun and educational evening was a huge success and raised a significant amount of money for Canopy's initiatives. We are now hard at work looking at how we might address areas of need as well as planning for long term support and resources for our local families. Thank you to all who joined us on Saturday!