Potluck dinner feeds residents’ desire to help DREAMers

The fight to protect DREAMers from deportation is getting help from people striking warrior poses.

YogaSole, a Windsor Terrace-based exercise studio that guides students through poses like Warrior I, Tree and Downward Facing Dog, will be the setting for a potluck charity dinner to raise money for three organizations helping immigrants.

YogaSole is hosting “Welcome to the Table – Support Our Immigrant Neighbors,” on Saturday, June 2 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the studio, 254 Windsor Place.

Participants are asked to bring homemade dishes to share. The suggested monetary donation is $15. The non-profit organization Welcome to the Table is organizing the dinner.

The proceeds will be donated to Welcome to the Table, the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park and Atlas DIY.

There will be plenty of table talk about the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, according to the event’s organizers, who said guests can learn what they can do to help DREAMers, young adults brought into the U.S. as children by their undocumented immigrant parents.

The DREAM in DREAMers stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors.

Last year, President Donald Trump suspended the Obama-era DACA program that granted amnesty to the DREAMers. The matter has been tied up in the federal courts ever since.

There are approximately 150,000 DREAMers in New York City, according to the Mayor’s Office on Immigrant Affairs. The city estimates that 320,000 New Yorkers live households where there is at least one DREAMer.

Evalena Leedy, who owns YogaSole with Antonella Pannullo, said charitable works and their yoga studio go hand in hand.

“We opened YogaSole in 2008 with the clear mission to be in service of community. Our amazing community has raised over $60,000 for causes like Breast Cancer Research and the White Hawk Foundation. We are honored to be partnering to support our immigrant neighbors at this very crucial time,” Leedy said. 

Atlas DIY, a community center for young people ages 14 to 24, is based in Sunset Park and provides immigrants with help on legal matters.

Jason Yoon, the organization’s executive director, said he’s grateful for the fundraiser.

All of the funds raised will go directly towards helping people with immigration-related application fees including, but not limited to, citizenship, green card and DACA renewal applications. These application fees can be high and discourage immigrant community members from seeking out protections they are actually eligible for,” Yoon said.

The Center for Family Life in Sunset Park opened in 1978 and provides 80 different educational programs, recreational activities and social services for 55,000 residents at 120 locations.

Welcome to the Table was founded by Brooklynites who attended a series of meetings organized by Councilmember Brad Lander following the 2016 election. 

“At the first meeting, one week after the election, a speaker from New York Immigration Coalition noted that high fees were a barrier that prevented many people from applying for citizenship. We felt like this was a concrete need that we could help address,” Co-Founder Ellen Shaw said.

For more information on the dinner, visit: www.yogasole.com.

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