Racing from torture and death, the United States has served as an international safe haven for immigrants the world over.

“Standing in a circle, in a windowless classroom near an on-ramp to the Queensboro Bridge, two dozen high school students chanted in unison. Their accents revealed their origins: Honduras, Ghana, Albania, Vietnam….

We had to leave; the rebels took over!” declared Stephanie Saint-Val, from Haiti.

“We left the city for the desert,” Hadeel al-Hindawi, from Iraq, said more shyly.

“You don’t know my struggle, you haven’t a clue,” proclaimed Sandup Sherpa, from Nepal, who had just dazzled the class with his break dancing.

Stephanie’s family fled machete-wielding attackers during a 2004 coup. Hadeel’s father was shot in the face in Baghdad because he worked as a translator for the United States military. Sandup’s father, a legislator, was targeted for assassination by Maoist rebels and now lives in Elmhurst, Queens, selling cellphones.

Finding a therapeutic voice in performance not only teaches cross-cultural understanding in the viewer, it also creates catharsis in the spirit for the violated and repressed performer.

We support the necessary evolution of dust into being into empathetic understanding.

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