On May 26, 2016, the American Immigration Council invited 69 students and their teachers from selected Long Island schools to discuss historical and current immigration laws and policies at our Teach Immigration Student Forum, a full day event held at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, Glen Cove, NY.
Photo: Teach Immigration participating students and teachers in front of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center, Glen Cove, NY
At the forum, seventh-grade students from Lawrence Road Middle School in Uniondale and ninth-graders from the Brentwood Freshman Center focused on making and articulating historical connections to present day immigration issues and rhetoric. In particular, students closely examined events and policies before and during World War II, such as the Evian Conference, the German steamer MS St. Louis, and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. They were able to draw comparisons and contrasts to current immigration laws and policies, such as DACA and the expanded DACA and DAPA initiative, challenges to which are before the Supreme Court in United States v Texas.
Their teachers, Dr. Steven Burby and Ms. April Francis, applied for our two-year Teach Immigration program where we provide educators with free and current educational materials on immigration law and policy and pair them with volunteers who are immigration lawyers. Together, the teacher and lawyer teams have co-taught at least two classroom lessons and helped students find a point of view.
The day of learning was brought to a close by Brentwood native and community organizer, Mr. Hendel Leiva, who spoke with students on the power of voice and social media. He relayed the importance of sharing stories and speaking out with facts -- even if a viewpoint is initially unpopular. Using social media, he demonstrated to students the power to bridge gaps of understanding on immigration through respectful dialogue.
One student, Ms. Myriam Arvelo, reflected on what she has learned in her English class and by participating in the Teach Immigration project this year:
To learn more about the Teach Immigration project, please refer to previous posts:
We seek to connect teachers and students with the most relevant, fact-based information to teach immigration critically and creatively–-at no cost. If you like our work, please tell a friend and give them this link http://bit.ly/1KdE5Zz to receive updates and free resources such as lesson plans, books reviews, and community grants. Follow us on twitter @ThnkImmigration #teachimmigration.