Justice for Detainees in Syria (JDS) organized and hosted a hopeful event for Syrian Detainees on Tuesday, Dec. 29 in Worcester.
The event kicked off with a silent supper on behalf of Syrian detainees. The mindful meal, introduced by Caitie Dwyer-Huppert, gave people an opportunity to contemplate in silence, and to give special focus on Syrian children who are detained with their mothers in Syrian jails. At the conclusion of the meal, Caitie led people out of the silence with Dylan Connor’s music. Dylan Connor, a singer/songwriter who chronicles the current crisis in Syria in song, provided musical interludes.
JDS was honored to have four speakers. Cynthia Gabriel, Amnesty International's Northeast Regional Coordinator; a special guest, newly back from the region; George Stifo the U.S. Branch President for the Assyrian Democratic Organization: Hiam Altali Francis, JDS founder and the daughter and sister of former Syrian detainees. The event was emceed by Octavia Taylor, a community organizer and a JDS board member.
JDS was privileged to have special attendees who have experienced suffering under the Assad regime: a Syrian man who had been detained in Assad's prisons for 9 years for been a member of a peaceful opposition party; another Syrian man who had been detained in Assad's prisons for 15 years for the same reason and now four of his family members are in Syrian government prisons; and an elderly Syrian woman who has just arrived to the U.S with her son as a refugee. The woman attended the event despite the fact that she needed surgery from a bullet wound.
Moving music, good food and special guests made this event an exceptional occasion, one that inspired hope and conversation about children, mothers and families detained in Syrian prisons