The Berkshire Immigrant Center is inviting the community to enjoy its second One World Celebration, a virtual performance of music and poetry, on Sunday, June 13th. The free event, which is premiering on the Center’s YouTube channel at 5pm that day, honors the region’s cultural diversity and highlights the observance of National Immigrant Heritage Month every June.  

In addition, BIC will host a Swearing-In Ceremony for new US citizens on Wednesday, June 23rd on the grounds at Naumkeag, the Stockbridge historic property owned by The Trustees of Reservations. The Center is running an online fundraising campaign through the Fourth of July to support its legal services and free citizenship classes for the region’s 10,000+ foreign-born residents.  

The One World Celebration was originally planned as an in-person event for June 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, BIC has made the event virtual and free to view, thanks to sponsorship by numerous individuals, businesses and organizations. Event details are available online at berkshireic.org and on BIC’s Facebook page.  

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Featured guests are actor James Warwick, who will be Master of Ceremonies, cellist Yehuda Hanani, vocalist Wanda Houston, musical duo Natalia Bernal & Jason Ennis, drummer Otha Day, and clarinetist Paul Green. Acclaimed poets Richard Blanco, Naomi Shihab Nye and Ocean Vuong, with other guest poets, will read works about the immigrant experience.  

The event highlights poems from a new anthology, What They Bring: The Poetry of Migration and Immigration, edited by local resident Irene Willis and Jim Haba. Copies of the book are available at Familiar Trees on North Street in Pittsfield, with a portion of each sale benefitting BIC. 

Since March 2020 the Center has continued serving more than 700 clients with appointments by phone or video chat, and also raising more than $500,000 for its COVID-19 Relief Fund. All of the relief money is being disbursed to help pay for basic needs of 162 undocumented local families who were not eligible to receive unemployment benefits or stimulus checks. 

 

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