A benefit concert in Michigan City on April 30 raised $15,000 to support Syrian refugees who are living in desperate conditions in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. The fundraiser was sponsored by The Concerned Citizens for Syrian Refugees (CCSR), a Northwest Indiana nonprofit. Some 250 people attended the event at the Elston Performing Arts Center.
“This is the largest refugee crisis since World War II,” says CCSR Chair Jeanette Neagu. “Some thirteen million persons, displaced by a civil war that began in 2011, are in need of basic assistance – housing, food, medical care, and schooling for the children. The money raised through ticket sales and donations is a small amount in light of the enormity of this tragic situation, but all of it will go directly for humanitarian relief of those most in need.”
CCSR had its origins in 2015 when some members of the LaPorte County League of Women Voters, stunned by the burgeoning crisis, organized a public education program on the issue. Out of this presentation, community members formed a committee to increase awareness about the Syrian refugee situation and raise money to support those affected. The local committee has affiliated itself with the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, a national nonprofit which encompasses eighty-two faith-based and secular organizations representing Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists.
Surabhi, an acclaimed world-music fusion ensemble based in Chicago, headlined the concert. Their performance reflected the music and dance of India, Spain, and the Middle East and included artists and musical instruments from around the world.
“The hard work of CCSR members made this concert a success,” Neagu says, “and I would like to give special thanks to Barbara Collins, the chair for this event. We are also grateful to the following financial sponsors:
Kathleen Brennan, JoAnn & Dale Engquist, Beverly & Robert Gallagher, Faye Ibrahim, Dr. Vidya Kora, Jeanette Neagu, Ronald Trigg, and Anne Walsh. In-kind donors were the First Presbyterian Church of Michigan City, Ibrahim Parlak of Café Gulistan, Esther Guncheon of The Nest Gallery, and India House Restaurant.”
For more information about Concerned Citizens for Syrian Refugees, visit its Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ConcernedCitizensforSyrianRefugees/.