MACON – Mercer University senior Sophie Leveille has organized a collaborative concert aimed at confronting misconceptions about the large refugee population in the United States and supporting a music program for refugee children in a Georgia community.
“Stateless: Unity, Hope, and Dreams of the Future” will take place on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Fickling Hall in the McCorkle Music Building on Mercer's Macon campus. The concert is open to the community, and attendees are asked to provide a suggested donation of $5 at the door.
A silent art auction will begin at 7 p.m. in the Townsend School of Music lobby, featuring works by Mercer and Wesleyan College students and other local artists.
The concert will be directed by Leveille, a music major and international affairs minor, beginning at 7:30 p.m. It will feature jazz, spoken word, solo voice, cello, piano and organ works, as well as a performance by a group of refugees currently residing in Comer, Georgia.
Additionally, a spokeswoman for the Comer community will share some information about the experiences of the large population of Burmese refugees who settled the tiny town in the northeast corner of the state.
All proceeds from the event will support the introduction of an after-school music program in Comer, part of a larger effort to set up a community center for refugee children in the area. Donations to this effort may also be made online.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are roughly 65.6 million women, men and children displaced by unspeakable horrors and oppressive conditions around the globe.
“Historically, the United States has taken in more resettled refugees than any other country in the world, including more than 44,000 who currently reside in Georgia. But because of a sharp negative turn in recent political discourse, the 'refugee' label is now associated with mostly negative outcomes such as crime, disease, dependencies and, of course, terrorism,” said Dr. Eimad Houry, professor and chair of international and global studies at Mercer. “This event will not only provide entertainment, but also an opportunity to learn more about the people seeking refuge in this country, their dreams, aspirations and challenges.”