On a recent Friday at a public school in Brooklyn, fourth graders with last names like Hajdari, Merheb, and Tan stood on stage to sing about the American Dream.
They were performing in their school’s musical, “A Journey of Hope: An Immigration Story,” a piece they had written themselves (yes, including the songs) based on their life experiences. An organization called Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts, which teaches students how to write musicals, teamed up with the school to put on the production.
Over the course of the show’s 40 minutes, the students sang refrains like: “This is the Journey of Hope / The journey of all of us;” or, in a scene re-enacting protests at JFK Airport over President Donald Trump’s immigration ban: “Let us hope. Let us dream. Let us in.”
Their parents were there, too, all smiles. Some wiped away tears. Others waved little American flags. Black, brown, and white faces dotted the crowd; some heads were covered with headscarves, others with baseball caps. They were all at P.S. 264’s auditorium to watch their kids perform. And they were all, no doubt, proud to be there.