The Welcome Project will host the fourth annual “YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City” on Thursday, April 25. The event will include cuisine from 11 immigrant-owned Somerville restaurants, live entertainment and a celebration of Somerville’s diversity.
Warren Goldstein-Gelb, the executive director of The Welcome Project, said YUM is both a celebration of Somerville’s immigrant population and a fundraiser for the Project’s mission to include immigrant voices in shaping community decisions.
“There’s over 100 restaurants and food establishments in Somerville that are owned by immigrant families,” Goldstein-Gelb said. “We figured an event that brought together those different flavors and cuisines would be a good way to celebrate the different contributions those residents make to the city’s vibrant life.”
Goldstein-Gelb continued to say that about a third of the people who live in Somerville were not born in this country. He pointed out that Somerville has always been an immigrant city, and that including and fostering immigrant contributions into city life will only further benefit the community. Recognizing that food is a common ground in all cultures, he said YUM has become the perfect way to celebrate diversity and promote continued growth in opportunities for the immigrant community.
“[YUM] relates to the overall mission of The Welcome Project,” Goldstein-Gelb said. “It helps do two things: celebrates the contributions immigrants make in the community—and that we are an immigrant city—and it also helps support our efforts to strengthen the voices of immigrants through our programs.”
The Welcome Project, which was developed in 1987, offers programs for immigrants to become more involved in community and city life. The group offers English classes, programs that train bilingual high school students to become interpreters and provides support for immigrant parents with children in the education system.
Goldstein-Gelb said that in addition to raising support for their programs, the event will also recognize organizations who have put outstanding efforts into making Somerville a more intercultural city. This year, The Welcome Project will be awarding the first annual Intercultural City Award to the East Somerville Community School PTA for their work with immigrant families.
“In a neighborhood where the majority of parents are immigrants, the East Somerville Community School PTA has done a remarkable job of ensuring that all parents have a voice in their child’s education,” Goldstein-Gelb said in a press release. “By having interpretation at meetings, creating multilingual documents, and having multiple sessions of meetings to accommodate different work schedules, the PTA has noticeably increased parental participation over the last two years.”
Goldstein-Gelb said the event is a great way to bring together the community in support of the many small businesses that immigrant families own in Somerville. He hopes that members from all areas of the community come to YUM to experience the diversity of Somerville and support local businesses.
“The two reasons for coming are, one, it’s delicious food. The range and quality of the cuisine from the various cultures that are in Somerville is amazing,” Goldstein-Gelb said. “And two, participating and buying a ticket helps support immigrant youth, adults and families that will benefit a lot from the money that’s raised.”
The eleven restaurants participating include:
Amelia’s Kitchen, Italian, Teele Square
Aguacate Verde, Mexican, Porter Square
Fasika, Ethiopian, East Somerville
Gauchao, Brazilian, East Somerville
Istanbul’lu, Turkish, Teele Square
Los Paisanos, Mexican, East Somerville
Maya Sol, Mexican, East Somerville
Masala, Indian and Nepali, Teele Square
The Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery, Portuguese American, Union Square
Sabur, Mediterranean, Teele Square
Yak & Yeti, Nepali and Indian, Ball Square
“YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City” will take place on April 25 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Center for Arts at the Armory. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door and include access to food from 11 restaurants, live music by Son de Sol, a silent auction and a special appearance by performers from the Underground Railway Theater. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.yumsomerville.org.