Northeast Philadelphia is home to many people of different cultures, creating many stories that have an ever-changing effect on the city’s development. The diversity in this area is so strong that significant events and programs are put together to celebrate the assimilation and interaction between the norm in America and customs from around the world.
Last month, the New World Association hosted an event to applaud its previous students who have worked hard to make it in America. People from all over Pennsylvania came to share this moment with these students and give their support to them as they continue their journey in the United States. It also gave an honorable mention to faculty members who made the event and development of the organization possible.
The students being recognized had worked for and received various degrees with the NWA. Some of them completed a program that gave them certification to work as nurse’s aids. Others received GED tutoring and went on to continue their educations at higher institutions. Some of them had only been in America for one year, and have already learned how to communicate well with people around them.
One of the people who was honored that night was Julia Swain, 43, who was the first Russian female lawyer in Philadelphia. She is a well-known divorce attorney who participates in causes to help immigrants in America. Swain emigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union at age 5.
The audience didn’t just get to watch people get awards. They were treated to an evening full of entertainment. There was an ongoing performance of a man playing a saxophone on the stage, serenading the audience as they ate, drank and were merry.
Other talented performers showed up, as well. A dance duo who emigrated to the United States from Russia as children took over the dance floor and displayed the moves they’ve taken to competitions all over the United States. They have even won quite a few. They danced to Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” and rapper Pitbull’s “One, Two, Three, Four.”
The final performance was an exhibition from Red Tiger Taekwon-Do. They did a series of fight maneuvers and discipline representations, including the famous break-wood-with-your-bare-hands move. The people who were chosen for the show were an interesting batch, one of whom was a man who seemed too old to participate, but shocked the audience with how strong and agile he actually was.
Text and images by: Hend Salah