Community Conversation with Local Refugees and Immigrants

Community Conversation with Local Refugees and Immigrants

Community Conversation with

Local Refugees and Immigrants

Sunday, November 25 at 4pm   Congregational United Church of Christ

Refugees and Immigrants in our community tell their own stories of why and how they came to America and their experience of our country. There will be time for group conversations about the refugee experience and a chance to ask questions of the participants.

Diya Abdo is Associate Professor of English at Guilford College. Her scholarship focuses on Arab women writers and Arab and Islamic feminisms. She has published poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. A first generation Paelstinian, born and raised in Jordan, she is the founder and director of Every Campus A Refuge advocating for housing refugees on campus grounds and assisting them in resettlement. Thus far, Guilford College has hosted 42 refugees (23 of them children) from the Middle East and Africa and assisted them in resttlement in Greensboro. For her work on ECAR, Abdo was named a finalist in the Arab Hope Makers Award (2018) and has received service learning and civiv engagement in higher education awards.

Ali Al-Khasrachi and Marwa Azage came to the U.S. from Iraq in March of 2017. With their three young boys, they initially stayed on Guilford College’s campus through the Every Campus A Refuge program. Ali is an artist and calligraphist. You can read more about Ali’s artwork and the family’s story here.

Jennifer Nyirandikumana is 19 years old and is currently attending high school in Greensboro. She came with her family to the U.S. from Uganda in September 2017. They stayed on Guilford’s campus for a few months before moving to the apartments on Summit and Cone shortly before the fire that claimed 5 children’s lives in that complex occurred. Currently living in a new and safe location, you can read about her family’s story here.

Rev. Julie Peeples came to Congregational in late September of 1991, having served with
her husband, the Rev. Paul Davis, as chaplains for Habitat for Humanity International at
Habitat headquarters in Americus, Georgia. Her ministerial experience includes working with
homeless women in Boston, campus ministry at St. Vincent College near Pittsburgh, serving as a
Minister of Christian Education and Family Life in a large UCC church near Boston. She is a
driving force in immigration and social justice issues in Guilford County.

Abdoul Raoufou Ousmane came  from Central African Republic to Egypt when he was just 18 years old as refugee. After spending 17 years living and working in Egypt, Raouf was resettled to Greensboro this August. Raouf worked in Egypt with migrants and refugees for 9 years before coming here as  getting settle to USA as refugee. He worked with diverse community and in different fields as outreach, education coordinator and social worker.

Moises Serrano is an openly undocumented and queer activist and storyteller. Since coming out as undocumented in 2010 he has relentlessly pursued equality for his community through the sharing of his narrative. His mission is to de-criminalize and humanize the issue of migration while advocating for immediate relief to migrant communities. Moises quickly became one of the most requested speakers in the state of North Carolina. Described as a “consummate orator,” his advocacy has led him to lead a Tedx talk in Greensboro and to be named a notable Latino of the triad. Moises’ advocacy has been filmed in the feature length documentary, Forbidden: Undocumented & Queer in Rural America. The five-time award winning film was recently honored by the Television Academy. Forbidden was one of seven programs honored for creating awareness, enlightening, educating and/or positively motivating audiences. Moises officially became a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in May of 2018.

Immigration Stories, a joint project of Scuppernong Books and the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, will explore the immigration and refugee experience in America through the lens of writing: fiction, non-fiction, and works for children. We’ll highlight the stories of the immigrant and refugee population as well as the issues, especially as they impact and affect the local community. Immigration Stories responds directly to these issues by providing the community with the opportunity to interact and engage in a series of public readings, panel discussions, and conversations with writers, scholars, and their neighbors. For more information, call 336-763-1919.

This project is made possible in part by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide non-profit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

May-Lee Chai discusses Useful Phrases for Immigrants

May-Lee Chai discusses Useful Phrases for Immigrants

May-Lee Chai

Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories

Thursday, November 1 at 7pm   Scuppernong Books

With luminous prose and sharp-eyed observations, Chai reveals her characters’ hopes and fears, and our own: a grieving historian seeking solace from an old lover in Beijing, a young girl discovering her immigrant mother’s infidelity, workers constructing a shopping mall in central China who make a shocking discovery. Families struggle with long-held grudges, reinvent traditions, and make mysterious visits to shadowy strangers from their past—all rendered with economy and beauty.

With hearts that break and sometimes mend, with families who fight and sometimes forgive, the timely stories in Useful Phrases for Immigrants illuminate complicated lives with empathy and passion. Chai’s stories are essential reading for an increasingly globalized world.

“Chai’s stories alternate between depicting Chinese immigrants in the United States and migrants in China, reminding the reader of the ties between those who left their homelands and those who stayed. Immersive and complex, Chai’s characters confront questions about class, family, sexuality, love, longing and more. The sign of a strong collection is one where the stories work together to inform the reader, and Chai’s eight tales do just that.”

-Crystal Hana Kim, Washington Post

“Delving into fractured families, hoarded secrets, and the cultural and personal negotiations at the heart of the Asian American experience, May-lee Chai’s Useful Phrases for Immigrants is distinguished by writing as elegant and delicate as a snowflake.”

-Foreword Reviews

“The eight stories in this collection contain multitudes. May-lee Chai interrogates heavy subjects with a light touch. She grants each character the gift of a gleaming voice, rendering them as shaped by circumstances, while also transcending them. Useful Phrases for Immigrants is more than merely ‘useful’; this is essential reading.”

—Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage, judge of the 2018 Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman.

“The nightmare is always that there’s one story and then your family — or you — are compared to it,” says Chai. “I would hope that Asian American readers would appreciate the diversity of the different characters… and feel that there is space for their own story to be told as well.”

May-lee Chai is the author of ten books, including the memoir Hapa Girl, a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book; the novel Tiger Girl, which won an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature; and her original translation from Chinese to English of the 1934 Autobiography of Ba Jin. Her award-winning short prose has been published widely, including in Glimmer TrainMissouri Review,SeventeenCrab Orchard ReviewThe RumpusZYZZYVADallas Morning NewsChristian Science Monitor, and San Francisco Chronicle. The recipient of an NEA fellowship in prose, Chai is an assistant professor in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University.

Immigration Stories, a joint project of Scuppernong Books and the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, will explore the immigration and refugee experience in America through the lens of writing: fiction, non-fiction, and works for children. We’ll highlight the stories of the immigrant and refugee population as well as the issues, especially as they impact and affect the local community. Immigration Stories responds directly to these issues by providing the community with the opportunity to interact and engage in a series of public readings, panel discussions, and conversations with writers, scholars, and their neighbors. For more information, call 336-763-1919.

This project is made possible in part by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide non-profit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Pauls Bring the World to Children

The Pauls Bring the World to Children

The Pauls Bring the World to Children

October 26 at 5:30 pm  Scuppernong Books

Baptiste and Miranda Paul write children’s picture books, sometimes together and sometimes on their own. Their last book together was Adventures to School, which details how children from thirteen different nations travel to school each day, and their upcoming book (releasing in 2019), I am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon, tells the story of Tantoh Nforba, who is bringing clean water and organic gardens to his central African nation. The Paul’s work concentrates on the diversity of human experience, the diversity of our planet, and how individual efforts can bring about big changes. Find out more about them here. And here.

We are happy to host them, as a part of our series, Immigration Stories.

Baptiste Paul is a man of many talents—from woodworking to gardening to entertaining hordes of children for hours on end. Born and raised in the West Indies (St. Lucia), Baptiste is a native Creole/Patois speaker and enjoys roasting his own coffee and chocolate as well as eating anything he can cook on a grill. Baptiste holds degrees in environmental studies and political science from Bucknell University. His previous book is The Field, which, Kirkus Review called ‘an excellent picture book debut’.

Miranda Paul is an award-winning children’s author who has worked as a freelance writer, teacher, volunteer zookeeper, and more. She began writing in elementary school, thanks to her wonderful teachers. She also enjoys science, trivia, and board games. Most of Miranda’s heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things—including her own kidbots who invent all kinds of gadgets with their super-handy dad. Her previous books include One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, Water is Water, and Blobfish Throws a Party. Her most recent book is Mia Moves Out which gives readers “the pleasure of seeing adoptee characters confidently negotiating a sense of home and belonging”, says Kirkus Review.

The Pauls will be visiting two Guilford County Schools, Archer Elementary and Lindley Elementary, on Thursday through Greensboro Bound’s Authors Engaging Students program, then will appear on Friday, October 26 at 5:30pm to talk about writing children’s books with Gale Greenlee.

Immigration Stories, a joint project of Scuppernong Books and the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, will explore the immigration and refugee experience in America through the lens of writing: fiction, non-fiction, and works for children. We’ll highlight the stories of the immigrant and refugee population as well as the issues, especially as they impact and affect the local community. Immigration Stories responds directly to these issues by providing the community with the opportunity to interact and engage in a series of public readings, panel discussions, and conversations with writers, scholars, and their neighbors. For more information, call 336-763-1919.

Ali Noorani talks Immigration and Changing Communities

Ali Noorani talks Immigration and Changing Communities

Immigration and Changing Communities

with Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum

Monday, October 22 at 7pm Scuppernong Books

What really drives America’s ongoing immigration debate? To answer this question, Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, interviewed nearly sixty local and national leaders across the nation, finding voices in faith, law enforcement, and business communities to paint a nuanced picture of America that looks beyond the blaring headlines to understand how communities across the country are confronting immigration and the changing nature of the American identity. In There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration, Noorani reaches across the political spectrum to offer a new approach to politics, one that confronts problems and pushes all parties outside of their comfort zone, in order to reach solutions.

Whether describing a pastor speaking to the need to welcome the stranger, law enforcement advocating for Muslim refugees, or a farmer’s wind-whipped face moistened by tears as he tells the story of his farm workers being deported, Noorani helps readers that America’s immigration debate isn’t about policy; it is about the culture and values that make America what it is. Especially now, when we feel our identity, culture, and values changing shape, the collective message from all the diverse voices in this inspiring book is one of hope for the future.

“An essential book to understand the fear, challenges, and opportunities on both sides of the immigration debate. This book, in many ways, explains why Trump won the election and why an honest debate on immigration is urgent. Your neighborhood depends on it.

-Jorge Ramos, Senior News Anchor, Noticiero Univision and America with Jorge Ramos

As its mission, the National Immigration Forum brings together moderate and conservative faith, law enforcement and business leaders to weigh in with media and policy makers in support of practical and commonsense immigration, citizenship and integration policies.

Ali Noorani is a frequent commentator and has appeared on The Diane Rehm Show, MSNBC, On Point, and Marketplace. He is an op-ed contributor to CNN.com, FoxNewsLatino

In Noorani’s Only In America podcast, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, business owners and others speak openly about the way culture, identity, and values are shaping and defining our country, and they offer a constructive way forward in the immigration debate.

 

Immigration Stories, a joint project of Scuppernong Books and the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, will explore the immigration and refugee experience in America through the lens of writing: fiction, non-fiction, and works for children. We’ll highlight the stories of the immigrant and refugee population as well as the issues, especially as they impact and affect the local community. Immigration Stories responds directly to these issues by providing the community with the opportunity to interact and engage in a series of public readings, panel discussions, and conversations with writers, scholars, and their neighbors. For more information, call 336-763-1919.

This project is made possible in part by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide non-profit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Immigration and DACA on the Ground

Immigration and DACA on the Ground

Greensboro Central Library, Nussbaum Room

October 10 at 7pm

What is the process for applying for asylum or refugee status? What is the process for legal immigration? How long does it take? What does it cost? Which statuses allow a pathway to citizenship and which don’t?

DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has been the subject of much controversy since it was instituted by Executive Order in 2012. This policy allows some individuals who were brought as children to the US and who do not have work authorization the ability to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to become eligible for a work permit. DACA does not provide a path to citizenship for recipients and people must meet certain criteria to qualify for renewal. What is DACA and how does it work? Why wouldn’t you apply for DACA?

What does the constantly shifting landscape of immigration policy and practice mean for those in the process?

For Immigration Stories, a joint project of Greensboro Bound Literary Festival and Scuppernong Books, we’ve gathered a panel who deal with these issues every day. Sharon Dunmore and Daniel Karlson are Immigration Attorneys, practicing in Greensboro. Moises Serrano and Maria Cortez-Perez are DACA recipients. For more information on our participants, click here. We’ll be addressing the realities of immigration policy and some of the myths and misinformation surrounding our national immigration conversation. Our panel leads us through the labyrinth.

Immigration Stories will explore the immigration and refugee experience in America through the lens of writing: fiction, non-fiction, and works for children. We’ll highlight the stories of the immigrant and refugee population as well as the issues, especially as they impact and affect the local community. Immigration Stories responds directly to these issues by providing the community with the opportunity to interact and engage in a series of public readings, panel discussions, and conversations with writers, scholars, and their neighbors. For more information, call 336-763-1919.

This project is made possible in part by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide non-profit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.