May 16, 2018

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) The Catholic University of America, Imagination Stage, and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) will host two special performances of Óyeme, the Beautiful — a powerful and timely play about the spiritual, emotional, and physical journey of unaccompanied minors, refugees, and other immigrants — on May 15 at the University and on Capitol Hill.

Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of HHF and a board member of Imagination Stage, will moderate panel discussions by immigration experts and activists following the performances. The events are free and open to the public and the media.  

Performances will take place:

Tuesday, May 15, 9–10:30 a.m.
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Room 201, First Street, N.E., Washington, D.C.
Honorary co-host: U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland

  • Featuring excerpts from the full production of Óyeme, the Beautiful, a briefing by Sen. Van Hollen’s office, and a continental breakfast
  • Panelists include:
    • Adriana Beltran, director for citizen security, Washington Office on Latin America
    • Virdina Gibbs, legislative counsel, Sen. Van Hollen
    • Jennifer Podkul, director of policy, Kids in Need of Defense

Tuesday, May 15, 6-8 p.m.
Edward J. Pryzbyla Center, Great Rooms B and C, The Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Ave., N.E., Washington, D.C.

  • Featuring a full production of Óyeme, the Beautiful hosted by the School of Theology and Religious Studies. A reception will precede the performance.
  • Panelists include:
    • Luis Cardona, administrator for HHS Positive Youth Development, Health and Human Services
    • Miriam Gonzales, playwright
    • Abel Nunez, executive director, Caracen DC
    • Roxana Paalvast, School of Theology and Religious Studies, Catholic University

¡Óyeme, the Beautiful was written by playwright Miriam Gonzales and directed by Elena Velasco, who earned a B.A. in 1998 and and an M.F.A. in directing in 2015 at Catholic University. The production is inspired by the stories of student refugees who fled violence in Central America, moved to the D.C. metropolitan area, and worked with Imagination Stage for more than a year, sharing their stories as a way to aid in their trauma recovery.

¡Óyeme! is a collaborative project involving Imagination Stage, HHF, Montgomery County Department of Recreation, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Service’s Street Outreach Network, and Nancy Navarro, vice president, Montgomery County Council.

ABOUT IMAGINATION STAGE: Founded in 1979, Imagination Stage is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to inspire creativity through theatre and arts education programs that nurture, challenge, and empower young people of all abilities. It offers year-round professional theatre for young audiences and classes in creative drama/acting, musical theatre, dance, and filmmaking for ages 1-18.  

ABOUT HHF: The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) focuses on education, workforce, service, and culture. HHF is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles with satellite workspaces in New York, Silicon Valley, San Antonio, and Miami.

ABOUT: The Catholic University of America is the national university of the Catholic Church and the only higher education institution founded by the U.S. bishops. Established in 1887 as a papally chartered graduate and research center, the University comprises 12 schools and 26 research facilities and is home to 3,241 undergraduate and 2,835 graduate students.

MEDIA: To schedule an interview or attend this event, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications at or 202-319-5600.