Roots & Routes – Event

Roots & Routes


Date(s) – 06/22/2024
4:30 pm – 7:30 pm


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The Abrahamic Center for Cultural Education



$5-$50 USD

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The Abrahamic Center for Cultural Education

Join us for a powerful and transformative event celebrating the resilience and strength of those who have faced displacement and found belonging. This immersive experience brings together visual art, comedy, music, and food to highlight shared roots and uplift the narratives of refugees and immigrants.

🎨 Highlights:

Gallery Viewing (4:30-5:30 PM): Explore Dima Zaghal’s interactive exhibit in which she takes us through personal recollections and material consciousness surrounding Palestinian identity. And immerse yourself in the standing exhibit by the Abrahamic Center, showcasing the interconnectedness of faith, with an emphasis on Islam.

Artist Talk (5:00 PM—5:25 PM): You’ll have an opportunity to talk with Dima Zaghal about her art and the essence of her work.

Interactive Activities: Throughout the event, you will have the opportunity to engage in activities that allow you to reflect on what it means to be displaced and the journey toward belonging.

Performances (5:30 PM -7:30 PM): Enjoy live comedy, music, spoken-word poetry, and storytelling that highlight themes of belonging.

Spoken Word Poets:

  • Shivani Gupta– A writer, curator, performer, dancer, and all-around stage-loving human, Shivani recently moved to Chicago after performing in cities across India and Scotland for the past 10 years. Her Partition Poetry has been featured on BBC & Forbes, and her powerful pieces on cultural and gender identity won the Mumbai Poetry Slam in 2018.

    Shivani’s work has graced stages at the Loud Poets Anniversary Show, Fringe Festival (Edinburgh), Jungle in the City Festival (Aarey Forest), SXonomics, Unerase Poetry (Mumbai), Femme Fest, Grandma’s House, Test Literary Series, Chicago Mehfil (@chicagomehfil ), and the South Asia Institute (Chicago). As the Development Committee Chair for the Chicago Poetry Center (@chicagopoetrycenter ) she champions equitable access to creative literacy.

  • Liz Bajjalieh– Liz is a Palestinian activist, artist, and poet. Liz’s work reflects on the lived experience of being Palestinian and community empowerment. SCREAM Until You Know What God Is poetry book coming out in 2024 with Fernwood Press


  • Zaid Fouzi– Zaid Fouzi is a Syrian-American comedian based in Chicago who has performed across the U.S. and Canada. He dedicates his comedy to advocating for the Arab-American identity and has worked with some of the top Arab-American comedians including Bassem Youseff, Sammy Obeid, Ahmed Ahmed and Amer Zahr. His work and story have been featured on NPR, and AlAraby TV.
  • Manaeha- Manaeha (they/she/he) is a ceramicist living in Chicago, originally from California, about to go to law school. In love with clay, SRK, jellyfish, languages, dancing, and making people laugh. They are still new to the stand up scene, but are perpetually, dangerously committed to the bit anyway so. Whats the difference…


  • ADE – He is a multifaceted musician with a rich tapestry of experiences. Born in New York and raised in Iowa, ADE’s love for storytelling shapes his music, which blends acoustic vibes with R&B influences. As a producer, mixing engineer, singer, rapper, and songwriter, ADE’s work reflects his innermost thoughts and the complexities of love and life.

Inspired by artists like Daniel Caesar, Clinton Kane, Lizzie McAlpine, Labrinth, and Smino, ADE creates a unique sound with extended chords, moody lyrics, and powerful vocals. Proficient in six instruments, his journey began with a memorable third-grade solo and has led to notable performances, including opening for Davido and performing at the Mission Creek Festival.


  • Lena Azzouz – Lena is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Finding Refuge and a graduate of San Francisco State University, where she studied social psychology and conducted research on racism, ethnic identity, and time perspective. Lena served as a research assistant for the Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, studying the experiences of Arab immigrants and refugees in the Bay Area, California. She was also a board member of the General Union of Palestine Students at San Francisco State University. Lena spent the last year in Palestine teaching English and reconnecting with her roots as a grandaughter of refugees who were displaced during the first Nakba in 1948.
  • Safia Mahjebin -Hailing from the County of Kings (power to the people), Safia stretches through space and time as an artist, recently diving into documentary filmmaking. A proud alum of the UChicago Popular University for Gaza (May the university of Chicago be cursed for profiting off of war), she carries the fire and love from her experiences into ever-liberatory directions.

Food & Drink: Savor delicious food and drinks, including food catered by Chicago pies, chai, and delicious mocktails.

Auction & Raffles: You can bid for incredible artwork and experiences.

Invest in a Dream: We believe dreams are powerful. Our residents choose to dream boldly despite the challenges they face. You’ll have the opportunity to invest in our residents’ dreams, ranging from becoming a professional soccer player to saving lives as a nurse to reuniting with lost family members.

Proceeds from this event will go toward Finding Refuge. We support refugees on their journey to healing and recovery post-displacement by providing dignified housing and pathways to self-sufficiency. We envision a tomorrow where people build successful futures undeterred by displacement. Our unique approach:

  • Community-Led Program Design: Our programs are designed and implemented by individuals with lived experience as refugees, ensuring that the needs of their communities are accurately reflected and met.
  • Innovative Housing Solutions: We break traditional models of housing for unhoused communities by investing in sustainable solutions that facilitate the transition to independent living.
  • Fostering Belonging and Cultural Exchange: We cultivate communities that center on belonging while encouraging cultural exchange among people from diverse backgrounds.

In addition to supporting Finding Refuge’s housing programs, a portion of the proceeds will be allocated to provide emergency relief to people in northern Gaza and Palestinian refugees.

Join us in creating a future where everyone, regardless of their past, can find a place to call home and a community where they belong.

Event Program & Ticket Tiers

4:30-5:30PM : Open Gallery viewing+ Social Hour+ Interactive Activities+ Food & Drinks

5:30PM-7:30PM: Introduction of Finding Refuge, Performances, Fundraising, & Auction

Tier 1 Tickets: $5-$20 for Open Gallery Viewing, Social Hour, and Artist Talk only

Tier 2 Tickets: $25-$50 for Open Gallery Viewing & Social Hour, Musical, Comedy, and Spoken Word Performances & Auction

This event will take place in partnership with the Abrahamic Center for Cultural Education. The Abrahamic Center for Cultural Education (ACCE) is an Islamic art gallery and resource center located in downtown Chicago that is dedicated to creatively educating the community on Islam and Muslims, their cultural, historic, and contemporary identities, while also preserving the community’s heritage and stories. By working with individuals and academic, religious, public, and private institutions, ACCE supplements existing educational programs at schools, universities, and other spaces with free training
sessions, presentations, and additional resources to help our community raise more culturally competent generations. Our two main services are educational presentations and visits to our exhibition space.

ACCE is a proud core partner and board member of the Chicago Cultural Alliance and a Chicago partner for Communities in Schools. ACCE is an initiative of the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA®), a global leader in halal certification. For
more information and a full list of the services and presentations we offer, please visit our website at


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