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One of the most impactful ways to celebrate the beauty, variation and complexity of humanity is to attend an event where people from all walks of life come together around a common cause. A compelling opportunity to do this is the Rock for Refugees benefit concert at the Arab American National Museum (AANM) on Sunday, April 2nd. 

The event, which runs from 2-10pm, is intended to increase awareness about the plight of refugees and raise money for ACCESS’ Campaign to TAKE ON HATE as well as Freedom House Detroit, a temporary home for those fleeing persecution and torture and seeking asylum in the United States and Canada.

FH1Freedom House was to lose its Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding as of April 1, 2017, and the organization was going to have to close its doors. On March 22nd, they announced: “We have received notice that we have been awarded a full grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the 2017-18 fiscal year. We are awaiting a letter from HUD explaining the reason our application received further review, but we have a signed grant contract in hand. Freedom House’s doors will remain open!” Rock for Refugees will still function as a fundraiser for the organization as they build a funding plan that is less reliant on government support.

“The purpose of the event is to raise dollars and awareness of organizations that are doing some of the most important work in support of refugees right here in Southeastern Michigan,” explained Kathryn Grabowski, the Humanities Programming Coordinator for the AANM. With performances by Detroit artists, a silent auction with work donated by local artists, and food available for purchase from The Drunken Rooster Food Truck (who will donate 20 percent of the day’s proceeds), the cultural community has come together to provide a full-day cultural extravaganza.

FH3“Our hope is that attendees will be awakened to the amazing things that can be achieved when arts, human service, and cultural organizations work together toward a common goal,” Grabowski said of the program, which is sponsored by the University of Michigan-Dearborn and produced by ACCESS, AANM and The Cultural Exchange Network. 

Performers will include BombaRica, Luis Resto, Casual Sweetheart, Mahogany Jones, Mazaj, DJ Ryan Spencer and many more. Given all the music, art and food, Rock for Refugees is set to be a wonderful celebration of the flavors, rhythms and colors that make up the Metro Detroit region. As a region with a particularly diverse immigrant population, it is important for all of us to remember our heritage and where we came from at this perilous time for current immigrants. Attending the Rock for Refugees concert at the AANM is an opportunity to fight back against current policy and listen to some great music at the same time.  

CultureSource will chat with a few of the participating artists about their music and why it is important for them to participate in Rock for Refugees in the coming days.

Photos courtesy of Freedom House.

To read more about Rock for Refugees, click here.

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