ECAR Recital and Reception

In celebration of Every Campus a Refuge, supporters, friends, and participants gathered at Guilford College to hear a beautiful selection of music and marvel in the artwork of Leila Abdelrazaq and Ali Khasrachi. The evening started with a performance from the Triad Tapestry Children’s Chorus. Led by choir director Melissa Burris, the Chorus sang five songs about hope, community, and diversity. The entire room joined in song at the last selection, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” leaving smiling faces and dancing children all around.

The next awe-inspiring performance came from mezzo soprano Sarah Love Taylor and pianist Radha Upton. Their first selection was in direct response to one of the first recent immigration bans. Most of their selections had a political undertone and spoke to the challenges and triumphs of the immigrant and refugee experience. They chose to perform a song cycle using quotes from people that came through Ellis Island. This cycle included a prologue, a six-part journey, and an epilogue that was musically sublime with some stories leaving the audience laughing and some with gloom.

After these incredible performances, friends were asked to take a look at the artwork of Ali Khasrachi, a refugee hosed by ECAR. His works are still on display in the Hege library next to photographs from the Red Sand Project.

The evening was filled with activism and resistance, urging people to become part of the movement to celebrate a beauty that only comes when cultures collide and differences are uplifted.





Photo Credit: Alana Harrelson

ECAR Volunteer Attends The Washington Center Seminar

In fall of 2017, Guilford College won The Washington Center’s 2017 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award for its Every Campus A Refuge program. Part of the award was a scholarship for one student from Guilford College to attend The Washington Center’s Inside Washington Academic Seminar on Media, Politics, and Advocacy. The Seminar lasted from January 2nd until January 14th, exposing attendees to Washington, D.C. culture, a number of political vantage points, and local nonprofits doing work aligning with ECAR’s mission.

The Guilford College student nominated and then later selected for this honor was Salah Sayess ’18.

Salah is double majoring in Health Science and Exercise Science. Initially, Salah came to Guilford largely because of the Golf program. As his college years went on, he started thinking about joining a program that better aligned with his values. So Salah quit golf and found ECAR to take its place.

Salah says, “ECAR was the perfect opportunity for me.” He started helping out with tutoring which quickly branched out into helping out with job applications, filling out tax forms, helping kids get registered for school, assisting people with English, and just being their friend.

When Salah arrived at The Washington Center he said it was “definitely not an experience that was in my comfort zone.” Most people there were seasoned political science majors looking to get more entrenched in the field, but Salah was looking for something else. He was looking for genuine politicians that honored their title and were devoted to solving problems in their community.

Salah heard from various different speakers on different sides on the spectrum. He heard from Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson, CSPAN executives, and many more local leaders in the nonprofit world. One of his favorite moments was when Congressman Joe Kennedy III talked to his group asking them questions about what they thought, gathered their opinions, and did very little talking. He also had the opportunity to meet the first Congresswoman from Vietnam, Stephanie Murphy and found her inspirational.

Salah “dreams to help out people in need, be that refugees, immigrants, or people experiencing homelessness,” he wants to be part of a greater mission for good. No matter the cause, Salah and other people involved in ECAR know that change is slow but absolutely necessary to the progression of society.

Leila Abdelrazaq Visits Guilford

Tuesday, November 14th Guilford welcomed Palestinian graphic novelist Leila Abdelrazaq with a high turnout and engaging questions after her presentation about the complexities of being part of the Palestine diaspora. Leila spoke about the themes she includes in her work, such as refugee communities as sites of both life and resistance, the right of return, and excluding the oppressor’s voice when creating her own narrative and graphics. Her presentation was filled with personal stories and was coupled with an insightful glance into how systems of oppression are connected, but are not the sole characteristic of refugees. Each have their own stories, history, and agency separate from the systems they exist within and navigate on a daily basis.

Much thanks goes out to Leila for her powerhouse presentation and breath of knowledge about producing art in various forms! ECAR is grateful for everyone who helped organize this event and for attendees from all over!


Photo Credit: Fernando Jimenez