Whoever said one person can not make a difference definitely needs to meet undergraduate student and activist Afrah Aden.
Aden, a community and public affairs major, was disheartened by the famine crisis in the Horn of Africa while watching news reports. Refusing to keep her arms crossed and waiting for something to happen, she decided to step up and organize a charity event.
“I was moved by the plight of the victims and felt it was my duty, especially because I am Somali, to lend my support in any way I could,” said Aden. “Many communities across Canada were staging events to raise funds and I felt it was something that I could organize as well.”
With family and friends still residing in Somalia, this issue affects her on a personal level. “Knowing that my people are suffering from famine hurts,” said Aden. “Somalia could possibly lose an entire generation of people [and] this possibility is devastating, even more so because it is avoidable.”
Aden was inspired by the Somali diaspora’s ability to mobilize and work with one another for the cause and decided to coordinate a concert that would allow people to be entertained while donating their money to a great cause.
“Music is a wonderful medium to bring people together,” said Aden. “I believe that it can also be used to bring awareness to issues of social justice and equality.”
The bands performing at the concert all sing about dilemmas that affect the globe, focusing on Africa in particular. The concert will include performances from Zoutenn de MondÃ©lÃ©, who is originally from the Central African Republic and discusses subject matter relating to his culture and the rich artistic history of his people in his music; and Waahli and Meduza, who are members of Â the multicultural hip-hop crew, Nomadic Massive.
Aden has been involved in humanitarian causes and social justice movements in the past; she has been part of rallies to fight for immigrant, student, and women’s rights. However, this is the first time she’s decided to organize something so meaningful on her own, without the aid of an established group. She believes it is important for universities provide a good place to become politically active.
“Universities provide a great place to gain knowledge and connect with like-minded students and faculty,” explained Aden. “Concordia has a long history of students raising awareness and promoting issues of social justice and equality.”
Aden’s hope is that enough people attend this benefit concert in order to raise a substantial donation for those affected by this famine. “Even if students are unable to attend this event, I hope that it increases awareness among students.”
The concert will take place Sept. 6 at Club Balattou, 4372 Saint-Laurent Blvd. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. All donations for the famine relief effort will be matched dollar for dollar by the Canadian government until Sept. 16.