Back in October, the Berkshire Immigrant Center organized a swearing-in ceremony at the Naumkeag Public Garden for 31 immigrants from five countries who became naturalized citizens. File photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Pittsfield — The Berkshire Immigrant Center will hold its fourth annual One World Celebration on Sunday, June 4 at 5:30 p.m. at Shakespeare & Company. The event is a benefit for the Pittsfield-based nonprofit organization which has operated since 1997.
According to the organization’s website, BIC’s mission is to advocate for the rights of immigrants, helping them through various programs and initiatives to navigate the immigration system. BIC provides more than 700 individuals annually with affordable legal services, resources, and education. “Over time, we’ve discovered that our organization needed to have greater resources because the needs of immigrants continue to grow,” Organization President Kate Barton told The Berkshire Edge. “Our client list continues to grow. In a nutshell, our organization has a very small staff of highly competent, passionate, and dedicated people who accomplish what I consider to be almost impossible. And they all do it with joy. We have a tiny staff, but the work that they do never ceases to amaze me. We also have wonderful partners in the community.”
The event itself will include James Warwick as its master of ceremonies, performances by violinist Jorge Ávila, Alex Torres and his Latin Orchestra, The Wanda Houston Band, Natalia Bernal, and Jason Ennis. State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli will be the auctioneer for the auction part of the event, while food will be provided by the KJ Nosh Catering Company, Hot Plate Brewing Co., and Domaney’s Liquors and Fine Wines.
“Every year we have had this event it has been such a success,” Barton said. “Originally, we were not an independent agency. We were previously a satellite of a mirror state agency, and we didn’t have our own identity or our own bank account. When we realized that we were ready to become our own 501(c)(3), we knew that we were really going to have to get more serious about fundraising.”
Barton said that they are “so lucky” to have musicians, performers, and local businesses step up to the place for the benefit. “We are calling it a celebration rather than a concert because we are celebrating the diversity and richness of the gifts that the Berkshires bring to us,” she said. “We are celebrating what it feels like to be in this country. We are mostly a nation made up of immigrants, with most families spanning several generations back. We are also standing with immigrants who have not always been greeted or welcomed into this country. I think we are blessed to live where we live in the Berkshires because Massachusetts has been welcoming to immigrants. The event is also a way of celebrating our heritage, along with the richness of our diverse culture. We also want to bring attention to our organization that serves the people who need our services.”
Tickets for the event are $100 and may be purchased at the organization’s website.
For more information about The Berkshire Immigrant Center go to its website.