Won’t You Be My Neighbor?: Community Fundraiser Taps Local Talent

by Olivia Stransky    /  January 12, 2012  / No comments

On Friday December 16th two homes on Monterey Street were destroyed by a fire. The fire began at 1403 Monterey and spread to 1401. Fortunately all of the residents were able to escape, but they lost their possessions. Shaunisha Thompson, who lived with her three children in 1403, told reporters that all of her family’s Christmas gifts were lost in the fire.

The Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church, located a few blocks from the fire site, is hosting an event this Sunday, January 15th from 5 to 6:30pm to raise funds to benefit the Thompson family and the Diggs family, who lived in 1401 Monterey. The event, called “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” will feature live music and spoken word by local musicians and writers, including City of Asylum’s writers-in-residence Khet Mar and Israel Centeno.

The minister of Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church, Reverend David. V. McFarland, answered a few questions about the event.

  1. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Community Fundraiser
  2. Come hear neighborhood musicians and spoken word artists to benefit the families who lost their homes to fire the week before Christmas.
  3. Date: Sunday, January 15
  4. Time: 5 – 6:30 p.m.
  5. Where: Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church Sanctuary. 416 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh (Directions)
  6. Suggested donation: $10 – $20
  7. Wine will be served.
  8. Reverend David. V. McFarland. Photo: www.alleghenyuu.org

What do you expect from the event?

To harness the good will and talents of this extraordinary neighborhood, raise money for neighbors who were burnt out of their homes the week before Christmas, and foster connections throughout the neighborhood.

How much do you hope to raise?

I hope we raise a million dollars! But even a few dollars is a few dollars more than these distressed families had before.

What artists are we going to see at the event?

It’s a very eclectic mix: For example we have neighbor Ortner-Roberts’ duo Hot World Chamber Music and another neighbor’s rocker blues who goes by The Undeniable. There’s a rock and roll duo; we’re hoping for a concert violinist, and I’m really excited about some premiere performances by a young girl in the neighborhood, Laila. And of course we have spoken word artists which is a wonderful addition. We thought that people here under the auspices of City of Asylum might know more than a little bit about home, losing home, and keeping hope. We’re extremely grateful and honored by their participation.

About the Author

Olivia Stransky is an editorial assistant and video editor for Sampsonia Way. She received her B.A. in literature and film from Bard College at Simon’s Rock. While a student, she worked as the editor-in-chief of Glacial Erratic, Simon’s Rock’s literary and arts magazine. After graduating she received a grant to serve as a Fulbright Scholar in Slovakia, where she taught English literature and conversation at Univerzita Komenského in Bratislava.

View all articles by Olivia Stransky

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