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Women Supporting Women

The life of an artist is one that serves a larger purpose. To create is more than a typical career. It involves emotion, self-reflection, honesty, and vulnerability whether you're a painter, singer, dancer, or producing art in some other way.

Zen Zone Miami artist Adriana Jaramillo, more widely known as Adriana Jay, felt the call to serve a larger purpose with her art many years ago, and she continues to be summoned. Most recently in a collaboration project with Refugee Assistance Alliance (RAA). "When I first learned of RAA and the incredible work they're doing, I felt a deep familiar tug." Said Jaramillo.

Jaramillo is a second generation immigrant. Her family comes from Ecuador, a small country in South America nestled along the Pacific Ocean between Colombia and Peru. Although her family didn't come to the United States as refugees Jaramillo has worked through generalized anxiety disorder, and identifies with desires that newcomers to any country have such as longing for relief, seeking opportunity, and finding comfort in community.

Refugees to the United States often do not speak the language. This is one of the challenges that the RAA addresses through their programming and assistance in South Florida serving families, mothers, and children with the help of volunteers and donations. Through their dinner series they create opportunities for community to foster naturally over food.

How it works:

A person or brand from the community opens their home or venue space and RAA works with the refugee women to create a menu featuring traditional dishes from the refugee chefs home country. A limited number of tickets are sold to attend the experience. The women prepare and share the meal which is empowering and bringing people together over a meal can be incredibly impactful for all.

Jaramillo attended one of the dinners earlier this year and enjoyed it so much she wanted to get involved more. For the most recent Taste of Syria dinner Jaramillo attended with friends.

Several of her paintings were on display, and she spoke at the dinner. The painting Women Lean on Women was sold one of her paintings to an anonymous donor. The profit from the sale of the painting was donated to RAA.

This was the first time that an art experience was incorporated into a RAA dinner and the feedback has been inspiring. Laura Batista-Arias, who attended the event, said "It was enlightening and empowering. A chance to create community and share culture." Jaramillo reflected on the night, sharing this on Facebook:

"Last Friday, with the help of amazing people, we independently raised $400+ for refugee families at the Taste of Syria dinner led by Refugee chefs. There, surrounded by five of my closest friends, we heard stories of courage and community."

"And I even shared my own journey, opening my heart to a room of compassionate strangers about why I paint and what it was like for my family when they first immigrated to this country— (still screaming internally that I had the guts to do this, and on MICROPHONE too ). It was surreal you guys. 🌈✨"

"I’ve pledged to partner up with the Refugee Assistance Alliance at future dinner series events and I’m honored that an anonymous buyer took this painting home 🙏🏽💫

Sometimes the world can be a scary place but organizations like RAA (and moments like these) are proof that love is stronger than fear, hope is greater than hate, and diversity is here to bring us together 💕"

The post had 80 likes shortly after being shared.

Future plans for Jaramillo and the RAA are currently in the works! The next Taste of Syria dinner is planned for December 7th 2019. Stay tuned to our Instagram to stay up to date and make sure to subscribe!


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