Monday, March 4, 2013

Columbia University Welcomes Youth Organizers


S.O.S. Crown Heights was honored as the beneficiary and guest of honor at the annual Naach Nation performance and fundraiser on Saturday, March 2, at Columbia University. Naach Nation, now in its eleventh year, is a cultural show organized by Columbia's South Asian classical dance fusion troupe, Columbia Taal. This year's show featured dance and musical performances by eight groups from a number of universities. It included a cello quartet, an a capella group, and dance troupes from Tufts University, MIT, Drexel University, and the University of Massachusetts. 

The event organizers selected S.O.S. to be the recipient of the funds raised by the show. They praised S.O.S. for its work making New York City safer and invited outreach members to speak at the event. Hospital Responder Kenneth Edwards and Youth Organizer Bernadette Benjamin spoke to the audience gathered in Columbia's Roone Arledge Auditorium to explain their work, why the anti-violence movement is critical in so many parts of the world, and why they personally were motivated to join S.O.S. and YO S.O.S. They received a warm reaction from the diverse audience.

Before the show, the members of the CHCMC who traveled to Columbia for the event were treated to a campus tour by members of Respecting Ourselves and Others Through Education (ROOTEd), a student group at Columbia dedicated to open and honest discussions of power, privilege, and identity. The student guides aimed their tour especially at the youth organizers, since they will be going to college in a couple of years. CHCMC Director Amy Ellenbogen, who attended the show and tour, was able to contribute as a guide as well, since she was an undergraduate at Columbia and founded ROOTEd when she was a social work student at Columbia University School of Social Work.

All who went had a great time at Columbia and Naach Nation, and S.O.S. Crown Heights is very grateful to Columbia Taal for their generosity and support.

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