Hopkins celebrated the cultural heritage of our community during a special Culture and Community assembly on Friday, October 18. Arranged by Students United for Racial Equity (SURE) and the Office of Equity and Community, the assembly began with student leaders from SURE reading the long list of countries that Hopkins community members identify as their heritage. Then, three poignant speakers from the Hopkins community shared touching and personal accounts of their own heritage.
Student Eva Brander-Blackhawk ’20 spoke about her Native American and Danish roots, and how she has recently connected to her Native American heritage. Hopkins Arabic Teacher Farha Abubaker shared her journey to New Haven as a refugee from North Africa, and spoke of the aide she received from IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) to acclimatize to life in New Haven and the United States. Abubaker continues to work with IRIS, assisting new refugee families with interpretation and language classes. She also teaches Arabic classes at Hopkins to students across the country through the Malone Schools Online Network (MSON).
Sergio Olmedo-Ramirez ’13 shared his experience as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Dreamer, now working as a paralegal in Immigration Law. He told his story, beginning with his earliest memories of life on a farm in Mexico, his journey to join his mother in the United States, and the struggles of being a student in New Haven public schools who only spoke Spanish. Through his love of soccer, he was connected with Lauren Mednick ’02 of Elm City Internationals, who encouraged him to apply and attend Hopkins. Olmedo-Ramirez expressed incredible gratitude to the teachers, coaches and mentors at Hopkins who guided him through his high school experience, and urged current students to take advantage of every opportunity they can while still on the Hill.
The Hopkins Choir closed assembly with a performance of Modimo, a traditional South African song of praise and celebration.