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Silk Road Ensemble looks to give sense of community for Lincoln refugees

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 8:42 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln is home to the largest Yazidi community outside of Iraq and Germany, according to Lutheran Family Services. While these families come from all over the world, there are opportunities for them to feel at home.

One of the biggest challenges for newly resettled refugees is rebuilding that sense of community or home.

Lutheran Family Services says the importance of arts and culture encourages these families to become a part of the larger community. They say the arts is a medium that helps different cultures come together and create a more welcoming environment.

“So while the state was welcoming in that initial period, the long-term effects, there was some isolation. We wanted to make sure that they were at the table, that they are a part of the community, that their voices are being heard in the community. We noticed the arts was a great place to start. The arts provided communication and community,” said outreach coordinator, Ted Blessing.

Lutheran Family Services says normally these families don’t have a choice and are forced to leave their home, and re-settling can be a traumatic experience.

Rebuilding a sense of home can be a challenge for many new refugees and the Lied Center in Lincoln is stepping up to help them find that home.

The musical group Silk Road Ensemble will perform their piece called “Home Within.” The group is led by a Syrian composer and clarinetist to reflect on one’s sense of community, as well as recent events in Syria.

The Lied Center is working with Lutheran Family Services to provide free tickets to new American families.

The composer of the piece, Kinan Azmeh, tells 10/11 NOW the work can be thought of as an extension of family, and the arts are used to bring different cultures together. He says he enjoys coming to Lincoln because of the people and believes home is the place you would like to contribute to without having to justify it.

“Bringing our art to Lincoln is a way to describe home and contribute artistically to the city. We can share our deepest emotions with people who are strangers at the beginning of the show and no longer strangers at the end of the show,” said Azmeh.

Azmeh says the show includes all cultures and he hopes those who have been forced from their homes and relocated to Lincoln can relate to his music and begin to rebuild their lives.

The Silk Road Ensemble will be performing at the Lied Center April 15 at 7:30 p.m. You can find the link to the show here.

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