Higher Education and Human Resources

College produces panel on immigrants and refugees

October 31, 2016
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A local college will host a panel of immigrant advocates to discuss the obstacles and opportunities immigrants and refugees face in the U.S.

Grand Valley State University will feature a discussion on the topic “Welcoming Immigrants and Refugees: Community Engagement and Transformation.” The talk is set for 5-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in room 215 of the university’s Eberhard Center, 301 W. Fulton St. in Grand Rapids.

The event, part of the university’s third annual Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Symposium, will feature moderators Jack Mangala, Padnos/Sarosik professor for civil discourse, and Alan Headbloom, host of public access TV show “Feel Like You Belong.”

Panelists will include Raquel Garcia Andersen, director of partnerships and community outreach for Global Detroit; Susan E. Reed, managing attorney for Michigan Immigrant Rights Center; Lupe Ramos-Montigny, member of Michigan State Board of Education; Kizombo Kalumbula, pastor of family life for Tabernacle Community Church; Anh Nguyet Tran, president of Liaison Linguistics; and Amer Zahr, adjunct professor for University Detroit Mercy School of Law.

Mangala, himself an immigrant of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said participants should come because immigrants are impacting our community as our friends, neighbors, co-workers and more.

He said attendees will leave with three takeaways: that immigrants are not a threat, that we can all relate to the immigrant experience and that we should commit ourselves to the value of civil discourse.

“We should try to understand each other instead of demonizing,” he said.

Participants will be divided into small-group discussion tables and will be given opportunities to ask questions of the panelists along the way.

The event is free and open to the public. A light dinner will be served. Attendees may RSVP at GVSU’s Civil Discourse Symposium website.

The symposium

The Civil Discourse Symposium expands on Mangala’s fall course, "Immigration: Think Global, Act Local.”  The endowed professorship is housed in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and was a gift to GVSU from longtime supporters Shelley Padnos and Carol Sarosik.

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