As a Musical Ambassador of Peace, Ari facilitates drum and dance sessions for refugees and asylum seekers in California and Mexico. She has danced with thousands of displaced souls—from Syrian and Iraqi girls rescued from ISIS enslavement to Afghan women escaping the Taliban to Central American kids who were separated at the border or had to travel to the US on their own.
The pandemic hasn’t slowed down the sessions. Since the spring of 2020, per the request of asylum seekers, Ari has been holding weekly dance sessions via Zoom to keep her connection with refugees stuck in Mexico. In 2021, Gente Unida and Musical Ambassadors of Peace joined forces to bring more dancing to families at Mexico shelters, unaccompanied Central American children housed at San Diego Convention Center, and Haitian and Afghan refugees who have recently relocated to San Diego.
Dancing with Asylum Seekers in Tijuana (Dec 2021)
Dancing with Recent Haitian Refugees (Nov 2021)
Mexicali Migrant Shelter (El Dia de Los Muertos 2021)
NBC San Diego:
CBS San Diego:
Besides wellbeing support through music, Musical Ambassadors of Peace, donates money, hygiene products, clothes, and food to shelters hosting asylum seekers. Gente Unida with a matching fund through Healing Hands has raised over $20,000 this year. Because of this donor support, we have overseen projects that foster a healing environment for migrant children and their families in several shelters in Mexico. For the latest videos and news of the Central America sessions, please follow Ari on Instagram.
Voice of San Diego: Bringing Music and Dance to Asylum Seekers, One Drumbeat at a Time
Chicago Tribune: Drum circle helps refugee women heal from trauma