Published: March 21, 2019

MSU student-led teach-in to discuss immigration

By: Jessica Hanna Media Communications jessica.hanna@cabs.msu.eduContact(s): Tony Beyers Communications Director, School of Social Work office: 517-432-4459, Johanna Schuster-Craig Jewish Studies

Michigan State University’s colleges of Social Science and Arts and Letters will host a teach-in event, “Bridges not Walls: True Stories of  Immigration in America,” on April 4 and 5. The event will be led by graduate and undergraduate students and will discuss current immigration issues.  

Students will teach participants what they have learned while researching the topics of immigrant children in foster care in the U.S., refugee health, human trafficking and religious identity amongst refugees who have settled in the U.S. from Iraq.  

”In our current global context, there needs to be greater emphasis on human rights and human agency when it comes to migrant and/or displaced populations,” said Daniel Velez Ortiz, a professor in the School of Social Work. “While migration creates pressures to adapt in receiving countries, it also creates counter pressures on countries of origin. 

“We need to foster greater dialogue on how to shift our focus to engage the issue multilaterally, so that our policies and programs protect human rights, are sustainable and preserve human dignity. We have an opportunity with the teach-in to start a dialogue about these ideas with future professionals who are developing their own ethical stances as they complete their programs."

Bianka Huber, founder of “Der Laden,” a drop-in center for refugees in Frankfurt, Germany, will kick off the event at 5 p.m. April 4, at the Broad Art Museum. She will give a presentation about her work, which will be followed by a panel discussion with local providers who serve immigrants and refugees in Lansing. 

The teach-in will continue at 8:30 a.m. on April 5, in the Erickson Kiva. Betsy Fisher, the policy director for the International Refugee Assistant Program, will be the keynote speaker. 

The event is free and open to the public and will include advocacy booths, presentations and visits from guest speakers, including Abdullah Hammoud, Jane White and multiple representatives from local agencies. Registration is required. 

“Bridges not Walls: True Stories of Immigration in America,” will be held on April 4 and 5. The event will be led by graduate and undergraduate students and will discuss current immigration issues.