Last Saturday, Welcoming Long Island was proud to partner with the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce and Of Colors to host a one-of-a-kind event—the 20/20 Experience: Artist Exhibition and Welcoming Networking Reception at the Artspace building in Patchogue, NY.
The 20/20 Experience blended traditional networking across different sectors—business, advocacy, and the arts—while welcoming and integrating members of Long Island’s immigrant communities.
More than 120 guests attended over the course of the evening, making for a very interactive and dynamic experience. Guests were dazzled by many diverse flavors of entertainment, including spoken word poetry, a live “World Cup” themed barber demonstration, a real-time art exhibition, and the Broadway vocal styling of singer and actress Kathleen Gubitosi. The event also showcased the works of a diverse collective of artists from across Long Island.
The theme 20/20 has two meanings. First, it refers to clarity of vision and the desire for all community members to see and understand each other clearly. Second, it reflects our goal to achieve an open and welcoming Long Island by the year 2020. The Village of Patchogue was an ideal location to launch this program due to its booming economic growth and recent collaboration between the native-born and immigrant communities.
David Kennedy, executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, was our featured speaker. He shared with guests how he and Of Colors founder Tracy Hunter had grown up near the Village of Patchogue their entire lives, have always been active community members, yet had never gotten to know one another before being brought together to work on the 20/20 program. It is a point that truly highlighted the importance of events like this, which foster interaction among diverse groups that creates stronger and more welcoming communities.
In addition, Maria Cruz Lee, communications director for Define American, spoke to the audience about her organization’s latest project, Jose Antonio Vargas’ autobiographical documentary, “Documented.” The film takes a look into Jose’s journey as an undocumented immigrant and his efforts to shift the conversations about immigration nationwide.
The 20/20 Experience: Artist Exhibition and Welcoming Networking Reception was just the beginning of the exciting new programming Welcoming Long Island is creating. We invite everyone to our future events as we continue to welcome our immigrant neighbors and connect Long Islanders through our shared interests, experiences, and values.