Nations of Migrants: Panel and Conversation
As explored in the Block Museum exhibitions Caravans of Gold and The Leopard (Western Union: Small Boats), nations around the world have long been shaped by migration. This program will examine urgent issues of migration in our current moment and their connections to our place in the US, Chicago, and Evanston. Drawing upon a range of perspectives, we will consider issues such as the ethics of witnessing, self-reliance and resilience, and responsibility in a time of refugee crisis. Through this discussion, we interrogate the legal, social, political, and human implications of our histories as nations of migrants.
Olateju Adesida, Ph.D, Producing Artistic Director of Fehinty African Theatre Ensemble—focused on staging creative works from Africa and its Diasporas through a process that actively engages African communities—will share excerpts of excerpts of migration stories performed by the Ensemble.
Galya Ben-Arieh will contextualize the US as a “nation of migrants,” and speak to the range of paths by which people come here (including religious persecution, political asylum, economic opportunity, etc). Within this, she will bring to bear her experience as an immigration attorney, organizer and scholar, including founding and directing the Center for Forced Migration Studies at Northwestern (2011-18) and working currently on the development of the Refugee Knowledge Hub.
Katherine Kaufka Walts, in her role as Director of the Center for the Human Rights of Children (CHRC) of Loyola University’s School of Law, will speak both to immigration law and to the position(s) of children vis-a-vis immigration.
Seemi Choudry, in her role as Director of the Office of New Americans (ONA) for the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s Office, will focus on what Chicago is like as for resettlement—how the government and community provide different opportunities to immigrants, and how our structures and systems challenge and serve.
Mirabel Womila (Wiryen), will speak from her own experience, and represent the work of United African Organization (UAO), a coalition of African community-based organizations that promotes social and economic justice, civic participation, and empowerment of African immigrants and refugees in Illinois.
This program is co-presented by The Block Museum, the Program of African Studies, and Refugee Knowledge Hub, a community-based partnership providing leadership, knowledge, and support for refugees and asylees in our community.