We've curated a special evening highlighting our families from dimensions that cannot be covered by the news. Guests will experience the food, music, art, personal perspectives and stories of our newest neighbors. Purchase tickets, watch the video and read more about this special night below!
About "Ana Huna"
Ana Huna means I'm Here in Arabic. Ana Huna is a phrase that we repeat again and again in this work with New Arrival families. When we're on the way to a family's home - often a family we're meeting for the first time - we text them a simple "ana huna" to let them know - I'm here.
Ana Huna is what we say when sitting on the floor with a family in the midst of the most difficult transition of their lives. In these difficult times, navigating the language barrier is impossible. Ana Huna is a simple way we communicate to them our support: You are not alone, I'm here.
Last but not least, Ana Huna is what our new arrival families can finally proclaim! After many years of unthinkable danger, challenges and waiting for what seemed like no end, they can finally announce: Ana Huna! I'm Here!
5pm: Ahalan Wasahalan | Welcome To My Home
Guests are greeting and welcomed with delicious Syrian, Afghan, Iraqi, and Palestinian fare, mingling with our newest neighbors.
Food by: Sharif & Asmaa from Asmaa's Kitchen
6pm: Ana Huna Panel and Q&A
We've heard enough about "the refugees" from the news. Now you get to hear from our new arrival families and their experience directly. We'll take the stage for a panel-style, open conversation and Q&A about the experience of resettling in America.
Moderator: Miry Whitehill-Ben Atar, Founder, Miry's List
Ayman Issa | Barber, husband, and dad | Damascus, Syria | Arrived October 2016
At the age of 47, Ayman and his wife, 80 year old mother, and four kids aged 13, 11, 7, and 4, fled their home in Damascus, Syria, and headed to Jordan. They waited four years before being awarded resettlement in America. The Issa family arrived to California in 2016 to begin their resettlement in El Cajon in east San Diego county. Three phrases Ayman uses to describe his experience starting over in America: Hard work, hope, and love.
Mony Zarour | 20-something college student | Homs, Syria | Arrived September 2016
Mony and her family spent 3 years waiting in Egypt after leaving their home and business in Syria in 2012. She arrived in CA with her mom, dad and three of her four siblings in September 2016 and they're resettled in El Cajon. Mony embodies the spirit of a powerful 21st century women: her resilience, savvy, humanity and sense of humor embolden Mony to lead herself, her family and her community to recover, rebuild and thrive in this new life in America. As the only fluent English speaker in her family, Mony is the link between her family and the American world, often translating cultural norms for her parents to help acclimate them to this new life in America. Mony is currently enrolled at Grossmont College and works part-time as a program coordinator for Miry's List in El Cajon.
Rabia Ahmadi | Working mom of 2 | Kabul, Afghanistan | Arrived December 2016
Rabia's earliest memory is the sound and smell of an explosion next to her house that left her sister injured. She remembers the blood, chaos, and terror. She was just five years old. Fast forward to July 2014, the situation in Afghanistan has only become worse. Rabia now has two kids of her own under the age of two, and she and her husband have to decide: Will the sound and smell of explosives be our children's earliest memories? Or do we leave everyone and everything familiar in hopes for a brighter future?
Today, Rabia lives in Tarzana with her family and works as the Director of Family Services for Miry's List. She spends her time meeting with new arrival families from Afghanistan and Iran to enroll them in the Miry's List program and support them during their transition to America.
7pm: Live music, dessert and drinks
The evening will continue with musical entertainment by the talented Dalan Younes. Dalan arrived in California from Iraq with his parents and four siblings in November 2016. Dalan is 16 years old, blind, and he has relied for years on music to get him through life's most challenging obstacles. His music is influenced by his family's Kurdish roots and their heritage in Syria.