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NEW BEDFORD — Last Saturday, musical talents and the will to raise social justice awareness came together in perfect harmony at a benefit concert for the Immigrants’ Assistance Center hosted by the Morrissey Blvd. band at Greasy Luck Brewpub in New Bedford.

Comprised of four siblings — Zan (guitarist), 17; Zoelle (keyboardist), 15; Henri (bassist), 13 and Wilson (drummer) Morrissey, 11 — the band performed about 20 covers and raised more than $26,000 in ticket sales and sponsorships.

“My siblings and I had hoped to raise some funds to support an organization that helps legal immigrants integrate into the U.S. culture and assists those who are being deported to other countries in a humane way,” said Zan, the band leader, a senior at Bishop Stang High School. “We feel that over the last year or so the conversation about immigration has gotten way out of control. It’s often filled with false information, and is sometimes even hate-filled.”

This story first appeared in O Jornal on 03/02/2018 – HERE

Zan said the siblings find particularly troublesome the current situation of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, known as Dreamers.

“There is not one single kid we know who thinks it’s right to deport young people who came here as children to a country that they have never known,” he said. “But that’s what is happening now that DACA protections have ended. We feel that’s beyond crazy — it’s immoral.”

The siblings first became familiar with the plight of Dreamers through media reports, and the subject sparked conversations around the dinner table with their mom Kristin and dad Matthew Morrissey, the vice-president at Deepwater Wind Massachusetts and former executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.

“When you dig a little bit, you find out it’s in your backyard… the suffering, the struggle is right here,” Zan told O Jornal, noting that he knows two students whose parents were deported and he went to elementary school with two DACA recipients.

He said it was wonderful to see so many people come together to support this cause. More than 400 people turned out at the concert and the band was able to secure 17 partnerships and 20 corporate sponsors for the event.

Seventeen musicians — some of whom have taught the siblings over the years — donated their time and joined the band onstage during the three-hour event.

“It was an amazing experience,” Zan said. “If any person has the ability to do something good, they should.”

Helena Hughes, executive director for the Immigrants’ Assistance Center, was ecstatic with the Morrissey siblings’ generous gesture and concert outcome.

“It’s the first time ever someone from outside of the center put together a fundraiser of this caliber,” she told O Jornal.

Hughes said the funds raised through the concert will help support the AMIGOS project, in which IAC staffers work at city schools to assist with bridging the gaps that exist between the immigrant population and the community agencies and departments that provide the services that this population needs.

Zan told O Jornal he would like to make this an annual fundraiser and perhaps support other causes. He said the band genuinely enjoys playing just for the love of music.

“This concert is not about us,” Zan said. “We love helping out other people…We are honored to be part of it and grateful for the opportunity to do this.”

This story first appeared in O Jornal on 03/02/2018 – HERE