Several Berrien County residents are giving a voice to refugees in Greece and all across the world.
To Greece With Love, a fundraising benefit for the International Rescue Committee, was held Friday evening at the Oak Room at the Citadel in Benton Harbor. August Garritano, who helped organize the event, actually traveled to Greece late last year to help refugees coming into the country from Turkey.
“They’re coming from Turkey, they’re crossing the Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea, and they’re coming into Greece,” Garritano said. “Not necessarily because Greece wants them, or is welcoming them, but that is the pathway[to the West].”
Garritano says that an especially impactful moment came when a teenage boy offered him a can of cola in gratitude.
“In that moment, I really realized that they are people too, that they’re humans too, and they’re not just foreign people who are scary,” Garritano said.
That’s a message that Garritano hopes will reach not only the people who attended the fundraiser, but those who may be wary of aiding refugees because they don’t know about them.
“It’s absolutely warranted to be cautious, to be wary, but just to be scared because we don’t know anything about them, I don’t think that’s necessary,” Garritano said. “They are people, they are children, and they’re not all scary people that want to kill us or hate us.”
Bringing people together through music for the cause was another goal Garritano had for To Greece With Love, and performances later in the evening from the All God’s Children choir and several soloists helped make that a reality.