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Creative Collaborators from KOI's Love Day Answer the Youth Questionnaire

“Being united or together on something doesn’t mean being the same. Uniform and United are not the same thing.”

By Manna Zel

When Daniel Buezo and Weleh Dennis set out to build Kids of Immigrants, they wanted to build a movement. In KOI Creative Director Debbie Gonzalez’s words, “They wanted to create a brand that made love the coolest shit ever.” So every May, the KOI community gets together to celebrate their anniversary with love—this year, on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Elysian Park. 

“Love Day is KOI’s way of saying thank you to the community that makes it all possible,” says Susu Attar, the creative director and event producer behind Love Day. “It’s a family BBQ—a way to get together and share love, food, and vibes.”

This Love Day, Soulection came with the sounds, A Dozen Cousins brought the food, UNDER NEW MGMT designed the floral art, and KOI created a crossover apparel shop with YTTP and customizations by Suay Sew Shop and Ginga Print. As the day kicked off, so did a kickball match—YTTP + Rizos Curls versus KOI + Gorilla Rx—with YTTP + Rizos curls winning 10-5. 

“Love Day [is] the kind of day you wish you could live twice,” says Ginga Print founder Omar Ortiz-Silva, whose team of creative garment decorators helped the community add screen printing and heat pressed customization to their tees. “From conception with Kids Of Immigrants, the vision was to open the design process and invite the community to make the final design decisions in creating their one-of-a-kind tee to commemorate the day. A for the people, by the people moment.”

For Alexandra Floro, the owner + head designer of UNDER NEW MGMT, Love Day is about letting your inner child out to play. Her floral art, like the five-foot daisies she designed for Love Day, is about creating alternate, playful worlds for the viewer. Another piece of hers at the event was a seven-foot tall denim peace sign installation, created in collaboration with floral artist MundayVibes to honor the work, sacrifices, and ingenuity of the many Black and brown people who produce denim under unsafe labor conditions and are paid unfairly.

“As an immigrant myself, I remember having so much pride in my jeans growing up,” Floro says of the installation. “In middle and high school I lived in denim, I think for many of us it’s really one of the first pieces of clothing that feels of this country.”

As Floro puts it, “Love Day is all about celebrating and honoring one another and letting our inner ‘kids’ out to soak in the rays of the sun. It’s about looking forward to a new year ahead, toasting to accomplishments past and having a good ol’ day in the park.” 

We invited Susu Attar, Omar Ortiz-Silva, and Alexandra Floro to take the Youth Questionnaire—here’s what they said.

Question 01:  How do you help others?

ALEXANDRA FLORO: My whole life revolves [around] helping others. As the oldest daughter of a single-parent, immigrant household, I can’t remember a time I wasn’t helping. I think it’s my natural base level. 

OMAR ORTIZ-SILVA: I seek out good deeds throughout the day. The acts vary but the habit is what's important to me.

Question 02: What will your greatest impact be on this earth?

AF: The honest + sincere love I give to others. 

OOS: We’ll see how much time I get :) The next stages of my pursuits involve setting up a program for young creatives to hone their creative skills while incorporating real world navigation in the business of being a self-propelled creative.

Question 03: Where are you most free?

AF: When my phone is off. 

OOS: When I’m running, nothing else comes close nowadays to that childlike freedom of just running because you can.

SUSU ATTAR: In the studio! Or on the dance floor :) 

Question 04: When were you recently perfectly content?

SA: I’ve just finished fasting for Ramadan (it’s a dry fast from dawn til sunset). Every night, when it was time to break fast, I was so perfectly content with a sip of water. Nothing else mattered. 

Question 05: What do you dream of?

OOS: Global peace

Question 08: What is your coolest trick?

AF: I have this uncanny inner clock. I can predict down to a few minutes when I’ll be done with something, a task, a dinner, whatever. 

Question 09: What is your favorite memory in nature? 

AF: Walking on the beach at sunset with my beloved dog Mac, RIP. For a good two hours we just walked up and down the shoreline and it was a beautiful moment in time. He passed shortly after so I will hold that moment in my heart forever!

SA: I once camped outside on top of an active volcano in Afar, Ethiopia. That was an epic journey that I’m grateful to have experienced. 

Question 11: What is your favorite flower or tree, and why?

OOS: The Giant Sequoias; their scale is absurd with seeds the size of pinheads and trees that grow to be hundreds of feet tall. 

SA: I love palm trees because they remind me of both my home towns: Baghdad + Los Angeles.

Question 13: What is your most useful affirmation?

AF: I can and I will. 

SA: Alhamdulilah. All thanks and praises to Creator.

Question 14: If you could encourage others to support something you believe to be universally beneficial, what would it be?

OOS: Take care of the environment y’all, PLEASE. It’s one of the very few things we all have in common, we all should enjoy, benefit from, and care after it the same, I believe is of the utmost importance for our future.

SA: Empathy for others.

Question 15: What is your personal goal for this year, month, or day?

AF: To say “no” more. “No” is beautiful because it lets the world know how much of yourself you are willing to share.  It's a powerful tool to give to yourself space to breathe and tune into what you actually want + deserve. 

Question 16: What song lyric, lines of a poem, or other excerpt best describes your outlook? 

AF: Charge it to the game. 

Question 18: Which is richer: your inner life or outer? Why?

AF: My outer life is richer because of the people I surround myself with. When I think of riches, I like to think about the non-monetary blessings that I’m privileged to experience and most of them are the people I call my friends + family. I’m so thankful for the quality friendships I’ve formed, the meaningful conversations with my colleagues I get to have, and a life partnership that stimulates my mind and heart. 

Question 19: If your energy were visible to others, what would it look like?

AF: Have you ever randomly made lines on an etch-a-sketch? That’s my energy most of the time. 

Question 21: What’s required to achieve true unity?

SA: Empathy. Also, being united or together on something doesn’t mean being the same. Uniform and United are not the same thing. 

Question 28: How does Youth express itself in you?

AF: Youth is optimistic. I express youth With my willingness to jump into any new experience with enthusiasm + passion. I try to push away any sense of jadedness because life is too short not to try everything! A true Sagittarius! 

OOS: I consider myself a lifelong learner, living in this mindset I feel more like a child, eyes of wonderment and an incessant appetite to know what I don't yet already. I spend less days feeling like an all-knowing adult this way and it’s easier to embrace changes, adapt and truly feel like I am staying young.

SA: Imagination and laughter!

Imagery courtesy of Susu Attar, Omar Ortiz-Silva, and Jessica Pomerantz.