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In Photo’s: Support for refugees in Maine delivered through a “Message from Far Away”

By Setareh Jalali

Despite the parade event getting rained out, The Ideal Maine Social Aid and Sanctuary Band played a few songs for those who arrived to the venue early. A street band styled in the tradition of the New Orleans second line, the members played such songs as “When the Saints Come Marching In.” Photo credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

A member of the Love Factory, a community of people who use dance, music and visual art as a reminder to open our hearts, holds a sign in support of loving all. Photo credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

Another member of the Love Factory holds a sign up while dancing to the tunes of the Ideal Maine Sanctuary Band. Photo Credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

A member of the Ideal Maine Social Aid and Sanctuary Band plays the tambourine while dancing with audience members. Photo Credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

A painted postcard addressed to Little Amal, a 12-foot puppet representing a young refugee girl travelling from the Turkey/Syria border to the UK in search of her mother. Though she couldn’t be in Portland physically as her and her handlers are traveling over 8,000 km across Europe, she was able to join the crowd through 12-foot live-streamed screens. Photo credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

Spectators watch the Ideal Maine Sanctuary Band and smile as audience members dance. Photo Credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

Kinan Azmeh, an acclaimed NYC-based Syrian clarinetist and composer, plays music with his band at the second part of the event inside Ocean Gateway. Along with his City Band, Azmeh played at Fort Allen Park on the Eastern Promenade the night before. Azmeh’s wonderful music can be found on Spotify. Photo Credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

Puppeteers operated a bird puppet created by youth members of the Telling Room. Photo Credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

Members of Kinan Azmeh’s City Band accompany him. Photo Credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

The Ocean Gateway room held people young and old, New Mainers and those here for generations. At the front, Cinderella, an intern with the Children’s Museum and Theatre, reads a letter to Amal, the 12-foot puppet shown on the live screen. The letter was written by a young New Mainer who attended a workshop with Germany-based Syrian writer Mudar Alhaggi. Amal was able to interact with the audience through the giant live-streamed screen. Photo Credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

Audience members watch Pihcintu girl’s choir sing an original song written for Amal. The choir was accompanied by members of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Photo Credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

Pihcintu girl’s choir, led by award-winning producer and songwriter Con Fullam, is made up of young immigrant and refugee women from such countries as Cambodia, Somalia, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. The choir has sang at many prestigious events, including at the United Nations, where U2 singer Bono attended and gave them a standing ovation. Photo Credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

 

Cinderella and Elizabeth, both immigrants and refugees themselves, read letters to Amal written by young New Mainers. Photo Credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia
Reza Jalali, director of the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center and one of many organizers of the event, stands with Fatimah, a speaker who read letters to Amal. Photo Credit: Setareh Jalali / Boundless MEdia

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