This week, HHF, the Imagination Stage and The Catholic University of America’s School of Theology and Religious Studies presented two free performances of Óyeme, the Beautiful, a powerful play about the spiritual, emotional, and physical journey of unaccompanied minors, refugees, and other immigrants.
To begin with, the performances took place at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center and The Catholic University of America, School of Theology and Religious Studies. Then, Antonio Tijerino, HHF’s President and CEO and Board Member of Imagination Stage, moderated panel discussions. Discussions included immigration experts and activists.
Thus, panelists included Adriana Beltran, Director for Citizen Security, Washington Office on Latin America; Virdina Gibbs, Legislative Counsel, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Jennifer Podkul, Director of Policy, Kids in Need of Defense. In addition, other panelists included Luis Cardona, Administrator for HHS Positive Youth Development, Health and Human Services; Miriam Gonzales, Playwright; Abel Nunez, Executive Director, Caracen DC and Roxana Paalvast, School of Theology and Religious Studies, Catholic University of America.
“It is critical we bring the play Óyeme, the Beautiful to advocates, policy makers, and the general public to mobilize the audience to continue or start their activism on behalf of the most vulnerable and forgotten in our community,” said Antonio. “Thank you to Catholic University and my Senator Chris Van Hollen for hosting Óyeme. I’m also very proud of Imagination Stage who once again are demonstrating they truly care about building EVERY child’s development, confidence, and purpose through the arts. It is critical we bring their stories to life to build understanding, empathy and hope.”
Notably, ¡Óyeme, the Beautiful was written by playwright Miriam Gonzales and directed by Elena Velasco. ¡Óyeme! is a collaborative project including Imagination Stage, HHF, Montgomery County Department of Recreation, Council member Nancy Navarro, and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Street Outreach Network (SON).
In conclusion, ¡Óyeme, the Beautiful brings to light the courage and beautiful spirit that fuels these young people, and teaches us valuable lessons, the power of friendship, family and hope. All in all, thank you to all who came out and supported these special performances of Óyeme, the Beautiful.