New Paltz, Nov. 2019

About 60 New Paltz residents—children, parents, and grandparents, immigrants from many countries as well as U.S.-born — gathered on a cold November night to share stories and a meal.

Organized by a committee of New Paltz UIDN volunteers, the event featured a performance by a bilingual team from Hudson River Playback Theatre led by UIDN member Jo Salas with the support of interpreter Gonzalo Quintana.

Guests of all ages shared personal experiences and watched their stories transformed into theatre and music– a good day at school, finding support after escaping political violence, taking pleasure in hard work.

A highlight was the story told by Luis Martinez about being detained for five months by ICE. Luis, now safe from arrest, spoke of the anxiety, confusion, and shame of this experience, a result of mistaken government information. He also spoke of the painful impact on his family, all of whom were present at the show.

Luis wrote afterwards: “I really appreciate [having] the opportunity to talk about my story. I could say more but it would take me forever. It was wonderful.”

Following the show, everyone sat down together to enjoy delicious potluck dishes and conversation. The event took place at New Paltz Methodist Church, which kindly donated the use of its social hall.

Nov. 2019, New Paltz

Top: a crowd enjoyed the show. Above: Luis Martinez (center) tells his story. At left is Playback Theatre facilitator Jo Salas and at right, interpreter Gonzalo Quintana. Both photos by José Marte.