If you’ve ever heard the Hopeprint story, you’ve heard the picture of the parade made up of many nations and peoples walking triumphantly, changing the face of a neighborhood as they walk along. This Saturday we literally brought that picture to life at our 2nd Annual Hope Gala.
After sharing several of the stories of our Hopeprint family members, each of the countries represented came onto the stage with their flag to be joined by their people present at the evening. Twelve nations in total, adorned in their cultural attire swarmed around me as I read through the list to the point where I could not see around them. Snaking through the growing crowd to continue listing them, my throat caught threatening to lose it. It was a moving picture to any eye, but to mine it was literally a dream coming to life.
The Gala welcomed guests into an array of cultural experiences, including a number of rooms which were hosted by some of the ethnic communities in our Northside. As I made my way upstairs, I found the Somali Wazigua in a large circle dancing their cultural dance with a large crowd of others watching with interactive attention. A friend who has traveled to Africa multiple times leaned over and remarked, “It’s just like being there!” Another guest shared her experience of taking the leap to try unfamiliar foods including goat stomach. Thanks to her boldness, she found herself ushered into another space by one of the community members sharing the beautiful handcrafted goods of their culture and building bridges.
The African Marketplace held not only raffle items but handcrafted items by some of the Congolese community. The soundtrack of African drums and dancing, surrounded by a space uniquely designed by one of our SU artists provided another taste of other worlds. Across the hall, the room representing the Bhutanese/Nepali and Burmese tribes had a much gentler feel, with young girls singing quietly as they danced gracefully about, Nepali women displaying and selling their own handcrafted goods as well.
Out by the fireplace, an Iraqi family hosted guests with chai, Iraqi coffee, delicious baklava and more. Today, a few days later, I bumped into a guest beaming about her experience and sharing the interactions she shared with this precious family.
As the evening closed with more dancing, music and all, it was a sure success on so many levels. This was marked above all by the sense of pure joy that overflowed from guests and hosts alike. It clearly exuded a sense of home to the hosts and a contagious sense of possibility to the guests. Mission accomplished.
Thank you to the enormous amounts of people that made the evening possible! A special thanks to…
Brian Howe, Event Producer
Liz Ferree, Sean & Heidi Haley, Brad Kimble, Derek Cole, Stephanie Fox, Emma Voigt, Agnes Aombe, Sarah Evans, Lisi Plaza, Carissa Matthews, Brittney Pfohl, Liz Eley, Todd & Julie Stady and many other Hopeprint team members
Samantha, Phim, Libby, Roseda, Karina, Leah, Tiffany, Devon and the other Syracuse University students who volunteered in various ways
Julia Nosovitch for going out on Hopeprint’s behalf to an enormous amount of businesses on Hopeprint’s behalf to bring about the raffle and silent auction
Our Fellow Hosts -The Somali Wazigua Community, Raj, Munu and all the Nepali cooking helpers, Etce and the African Drummers & Dancers, The Karen Community dancers, Bhim and the Syracuse Nepali Church, Gabrielle & Crafting Syracuse Together, Ahmed and Amina’s family and all the other communities that gathered to host our guests
Our Girl Scout leaders for making it possible for the girls to come
Eastern Hills, including Kyle Dolbear, Dennis Murphy, Mark Noble Neal Carr, Courtney Combs and Doug & Laurel Bullock for the building, time, energy and all invested
Our Sponsors – Haun Welding, Fed Ex, Adecco and Driver’s Village
… and all the other volunteers, hosts, guests, donors and businesses that made the evening success!
Didn’t make it? You won’t want to miss it next year.
To donate online to Hopeprint to keep the story alive, click here.