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NYC Theatre Artists Plan #CloseTheCamps Play Reading and Event

The play reading and fundraiser aims to bring awareness to conditions at migrant border facilities and advise attendees on how they can help.

NEW YORK CITY: Theatre producers Peter J. Kuo and Pia Haddad of 3K2 Productions are hosting a fundraiser and play reading this weekend to raise awareness of the desperate conditions at migrant border facilities in Texas. The event will feature a reading of I Never Saw Another Butterfly by Celeste Raspanti, a play about a young Jewish survivor the WWII concentration camp Terezin, and a post-show discussion with an attorney about action steps ordinary citizens can take to help.

“The concept behind the reading came from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s denouncing these centers as concentration camps,” said Kuo, who along with Haddad is among Cohort 3 of TCG’s Rising Leaders of Color, in a statement. “While we are in no way comparing the situation to the mass murders of the Holocaust, the conditions at Terezin, a holding center for 150,000 Jews—15,000 of them children—had many similarities to the conditions at the camps which children are presently being held at the U.S. border. They are horrific and need to be highlighted.”

Indeed numerous news reports have detailed the inhumane state of Customs and Border Protection detention centers in Texas, where migrants are overcrowded, often sleeping on concrete floors and with no access to basic necessities, including showers, soap, and toothpaste, and limited food and water. Hundreds of unaccompanied children, many separated from parents or loved ones, are among the affected population.

The event, called #CloseTheCamps, will be held on Sat., June 29, at 8 p.m. at Ernst C. Stiefel Hall, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, Room i400, New York, NY 10011. Following the reading, immigration attorney Zachary Zwillinger will facilitate a workshop on ways allies can better support and protect undocumented immigrants and refugees.

The event is free but attendees are encouraged to donate to a number of immigrant rights groups, such as the Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in New York, and Freedom for Immigrants in Oakland.

I Never Saw Another Butterfly will feature a cast primarily made up of Jewish and Latinx performers. The reading will be co-directed by Rebecca Etzine and Peter J. Kuo, and will feature Antonio Araujo, Danny Bryck, Maribel Martinez, Rick Burkhardt, Rachel Caplan, Alex Chester, Gloria Cordona, Chris Costa, Stephanie Gould, Max Helfand, Elizabeth Klein, Bess Miller, Sarita Ocón, and Lauren Slakter.

You can RSVP here.

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