Stories

Summer Youth Art Camp

In August, we wrapped up our fourth annual Youth Summer Art Camp. This year we teamed up with the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI) and the Department of Occupational Therapy at Samuel Merritt University to develop a unique experience for children from refugee and immigrant communities in the East Bay.

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How Long Must We Search for Home?

Ours is a story of forced migration, ours is a story of multiple worlds. As a child we knew when a relative had died back home – it manifested in my father’s silence, or my mother’s many bodily ailments. We are familiar with distant loss and nearby silent suffering.

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Goli Hashemi on Adaptive Art

What excites ARTogether board member Goli Hashemi about art is how adaptive it can be. Goli leads ARTogether’s Expressive Arts-Based Occupational Therapy Program at Oakland

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“Stages of grief are stages of creation too.”

I had the privilege of joining Khamsa’s very first listening party at the Reef Studios. I arrived at the given address and was greeted by a single-paned, glass door propped open, revealing the start of a long and narrow staircase. The music studio was tucked away at the top, bursting with life. A crowd of musicians exchanged hugs and laughter while a small white dog ran between their ankles. The air smelled of pizza, and behind a table of studio equipment, a large plasma television silently played Planet Earth videos. The atmosphere was electrifying yet tender, the excitement palpable as everyone settled into their seats.

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Brave and Daring–Growing Through the Mentorship Program

I joined my scheduled Zoom meeting with Hannah Jeffers the day after my family left. It was a joyful and chaotic visit, their first since I moved to the Bay Area, and now I was filled with a medley of expected emotions: relief, sadness, gratitude. A confusing and daunting acceptance of the newfound distance between us, as their plane touched down in New York. 

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Uplifting Cambodian Voices in the Bay

My phone call with Ryan Samn opened with the busy sounds of clattering kitchenware ringing in the background.

“Sorry, I’m making dinner with my family right now,” He quickly explained. I myself was hidden in the back room of the tutoring center I work at on Thursday nights. The center was quiet, most of the students having left to return home for their own family dinners, and so I welcomed the familiar sounds of pots and pans, of running water.

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