Build a Longer Table by Saira Madarasmi (A’21)

by tuftsigl
May 21

This spring, the Tufts chapter of Amnesty International held its Build a Longer Table Event, a lunch for ten local refugee families and their children, in the Remis Sculpture Court of the Aidekman Arts Center.

Build a Longer Table is one element of the larger Amnesty International USA #iWelcome campaign that seeks to welcome local refugees and educate community members about the refugees who have been resettled in their towns. The premise is that, in this political climate, instead of building a wall to keep people out of our country, we are building a longer table to invite them into our communities.

The goal of this lunch was not only to have a meal together, but also to engage refugee families and the organizations that support them in fun family activities.   The event was centered around the children, with ages ranging from infants to teenagers.  Remis Sculpture Court was filled with balloons, games, puzzles, a craft corner, and a temporary tattoo station.  Games like cornhole and soccer were set up outside on the grass. 

The Tufts students and the refugee families were able to enjoy each other’s company and share stories over a delicious feast.  One guest, a Turkish refugee, graciously passed around home-brewed Turkish coffee as the children ran around outside adorned in temporary tattoos. Overall, Build a Longer Table was a day of connection, love, and laughter that everyone felt grateful to experience.

At a time when ignorance and hate has caused some people in our nation to want to build a wall to keep people out, we seek instead to recognize our common humanity by building a longer table and inviting  people into our community.  If you feel passionate about learning more about the refugee crisis or how you can help make the transition easier for local refugee families, please reach out to Tufts Amnesty International or to get in contact with a local Amnesty International chapter.

This event was made possible by generous donations from a number of local restaurants, including The Middle East Restaurant, Greek Corner, Danish Pastry House, Yoshi’s, Iggy’s Bread of the World, Flatbreads, Dave’s Pasta, and the Rez.