La Casita’s ‘Immigrant’ forum to focus on immigrant issues, experiences and culture Thursday, May 14
La Casita’s ‘Immigrant’ forum to focus on immigrant issues, experiences and culture Thursday, May 14May 13, 2009Jemeli Tanuijetanui@syr.edu
Have you or a relative, friend and/or colleague ever had an encounter with U.S. Border Patrol officers? Have you faced detention? Do you ever wonder what rights immigrants have and whether some of the U.S.’s current detention policies are a violation of these rights?
These and other issues relevant to the national and local immigration debate will be the focus of the “Immigrant: An Evening of Discussion and Celebration” event held Thursday, May 14, from 5-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Blodgett School, 312 Oswego St. in Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood.
The event is hosted by Syracuse University’s La Casita Cultural Center Project in conjunction with the Detention Task Force and May 1st Coalition/International Migrants Alliance. It is free and open to the public.
The forum will kick off with tapas (assorted appetizers) and storytelling, then feature a series of roundtable discussions on immigration-related issues, concluding with dinner and music provided by Colleen Kattau and the Eudi Fernandez Latin Jazz Band.
The evening gathering aims to bring together Syracuse residents and the SU campus to share diverse experiences of migration and create space for dialogue between the Latina/Latino immigrant community, immigrant rights activists and scholars. Organizers also hope to raise awareness about civil and human rights violations in the Central New York area and nationwide and provide opportunities for action and engagement through existing initiatives marshaled by existing individuals and groups such as the Detention Task Force, Witness for Peace and International Migrant Alliance. The event is planned as a forum for discussion, but it will also feature elements celebrating the culture emerging from the immigrant experience.
Among the speakers and experts leading the dialogues on migration, immigrant rights and rights violations are several professors and students from SU, including Brenda Lopez from the College of Law, Alejandro Garcia from the College of Human Ecology and Silvio Torres-Saillant, director of the Latino-Latin American Studies Program and a professor of English in The College of Arts and Sciences. Community leaders and residents speaking include Caroline Kim and Ursula Rozum of the Detention Task Force; Luz Encarnacion, chair of the Spanish Action League Board of Directors; and Juan Cruz, an artist from Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood.
“These are very well-informed speakers and sources of information from the community and the SU campus who are committed to bringing to light the issues that affect the immigrant community in Syracuse and across the nation,” says Torres-Saillant.
The event is part of a series launched this spring by the La Casita Cultural Center to bring visibility to the Latino immigrant experience within SU and the City of Syracuse. Other events in the series include the Cinco de Mayo celebration in the city’s Westcott neighborhood and the ongoing “Vicktory Dogs Paintings” exhibition that runs through June 30 at The Link Gallery in the Community Art Wing on the ground floor of The Warehouse, 350 W. Fayette St. The exhibition, free and open to the public, features prints of 22 dogs rescued from the dog-fighting ring of former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick by the Best Friends Animal Society.
For “Vicktory Dogs” gallery hours, call SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts at (315) 442-2230.
About La Casita Cultural CenterSU’s La Casita Cultural Center is one of 19 new Chancellor’s Leadership Projects that exemplify the University vision of Scholarship in Action. La Casita seeks to establish a physical gathering place on Syracuse’s Near Westside to foster multimodal, multigenerational campus-community conversations and to serve as an intellectual and artistic bridge linking various communities, including Latino populations across and beyond Syracuse. The project, whose board of advisors includes faculty, students and administrators from schools and colleges across the University, will work in partnership with a variety of community organizations and with institutional support from the Near Westside Initiative.
For more information on La Casita Cultural Center, contact Casita Project Coordinator Inmaculada Lara Bonilla, assistant professor of Spanish in The College of Arts and Sciences, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Detention Task ForceThe Detention Task Force is a project of the Workers’ Rights Center, an initiative of the Central New York Labor-Religion Coalition. This not-for-profit volunteer organization opposes the expansion and use of immigrant detention centers and aims to end the use of detention and deportation as keystones to the U.S. migration policy. The Detention Task Force stands in solidarity with immigrants in detention centers, fighting for their release and drawing attention to the inhumane conditions of detention. The task force also advocates for a just migration policy that includes measures to reunite families, clear the visa backlog, provide a pathway to citizenship, and strengthen worker and civil rights, as opposed to increasing enforcement practices.