Panel Discussion with SD Organizations

We had a wonderful night with leaders from local nonprofit organizations that work for the advocacy of refugees and immigrants in San Diego!

Thank you everyone who came out tonight. And a big THANK YOU to all the panelists who made time to have this important conversation with us about the challenges refugees and immigrants face in San Diego, and the contribution they bring to the community.

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Anon(ymous) director Randy Reinholz (far right) gave a word before the panel about the show’s message and its relevance today.

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We were honored to have with us (from left to right)
Ms. Dilkhwaz Ahmed from License to Freedom
Ms. Elizabeth Lou from Nile Sisters Development Initiative
Mr. Fahad Mohamed from Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA)
and Mr. Jama Mohamed from United Women of East African Support Team (UWEAST)
Far right is Yi-Lin Eli Chung, moderator for the evening’s event.

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Ms. Dilkhwaz Ahmed shared with us a powerful video from License to Freedom’s website (http://www.licensetofreedom.org/), about the stakes of sexual violence and exploitation, and the resilience of survivors.

Her presentation reminded us the importance of action beyond sympathy.

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Ms. Elizabeth Lou pointed us to the Nile Sisters website (https://nilesisters.org), which features their services and valuable information about issues concerning refugees and other vulnerable foreign-born populations in San Diego.

A lot of the information we pulled for Anon(ymous)‘s production came from Nile Sisters.

Mr. Fahad Mohamed shared with us PANA’s integrated voter engagement program, as well as their #RightToRoof campaign to address the hidden homeless issue among refugees and immigrants in San Diego.

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The THRIVE tool United Women of East Africa uses to identify and address priorities of community improvements.

Mr. Jama Mohamed shared with us his personal story coming to America as a young refugee, and eventually graduating from San Diego State University with a Psychology degree!

All the organizations featured on the panel could be found on our Community Resources page.

License to Freedom http://www.licensetofreedom.org/

Nile Sister Development Initiative https://nilesisters.org/. Also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nilesisters/.

Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) http://www.panasd.org/
They are on Twitter @PANASanDiego

United Women of East Africa http://www.unitedwomenofeastafrica.org/. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Uweast1/. They are also on Twitter @uweast1.

SPECIAL THANKS to
San Diego State University Theatre Department
Dr. Huma Ghosh, from Women’s Studies Department, for spreading the word about the event and bringing in students
Adam Danska and Christina Martin,Production Supervisors, for helping us set up
Marissa McKinney,House Manager, for ushers and setup
Stephanie Kwik, Assistant Dramaturg, for media support
Confucius Institute at San Diego State University, for lending us their microphone

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HIGHLIGHT: Nile Sisters Development Initiative

Since the production of Anon(ymous), we have been aware of the many local nonprofit organizations that support and advocate for refugees and immigrants here in San Diego. We are honored to have the opportunities to connect with some of them and witness their amazing work.

Nile Sisters Development Initiative is a San Diego based nonprofit organization founded by Elizabeth Lou, Recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights.

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The Nile Sisters Development Initiative mission is to educate, support, and offer training to refugee and immigrant women and their families to help them overcome barriers to social and economic self-reliance.

The Initiative facilitates refugee self-reliance beyond the initial allocation period through services such as emergency relief, employment facilitation, family advocacy and education.

When asked about how students could help to advocate for refugees and immigrants, Ms. Lou replies that educating oneself, and distributing reliable and helpful information on social media and to friends and family is one immediate action students could take.

The organization is a source of information about refugees and other vulnerable foreign-born populations, conducting assessments and offering free, reliable, and current reports for refugee and immigrant issues.

You can find these publications on Nile Sisters Development Initiative’s website at https://nilesisters.org/. And keep up to date with the organization’s current activities on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nilesisters/.

Message to SDSU Community on DACA

With the White House announcement calling for an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), we are writing to reassure the campus community of San Diego State University’s commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all students, faculty and staff. We are proud to be one of the most diverse campuses in the country; this diversity is critical for preparing students to work in San Diego’s binational economy and a global workforce.

Today, Chancellor Timothy P. White of the California State University system sent a message to the CSU community regarding DACA that can be read here. We continue to work with the Chancellor’s Office and our legal counsel to understand the new orders. For now, we are providing information to help students, faculty and staff who may have concerns, either about their own immigration status or that of their families.

As a reminder to all members of our campus community, our students’ immigration status is part of their educational records, and it is protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For more information on FERPA, visit: http://arweb.sdsu.edu/es/registrar/privacy.html.

Additionally, immigration enforcement is the jurisdiction of the federal government and falls outside the scope of the University Police Department (UPD). The newly announced change does not change or influence the mission of UPD. If any member of our community is approached on campus by federal immigration officials, please contact UPD for further information at 619-594-1991.

Students

Associated Students provides free legal assistance to students through a partnership with a local legal services organization. Students concerned about their immigration status can find information on how to access legal services at: http://as.sdsu.edu/azteclegal/.

Students experiencing an emergency related to food or housing security should contact the Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT), a group of on- and off-campus members who connect SDSU students with resources when they have an immediate need. Email ecrt@mail.sdsu.eduor visit the website: http://go.sdsu.edu/student_affairs/ecrt. Also, Associated Students, which may be reached at 619-594-6555, operates a Food Pantry and sponsors other food insecurity initiatives for SDSU students. More information is available online: http://as.sdsu.edu/foodinsecurity/.

The Office of Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) works closely with students of low-income, underserved backgrounds, including many of our undocumented/AB540 students. EOP’s dedicated on-campus academic counselors are available for consultation. The office is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Contact the office at 619-594-6298 or visit the website: http://eop.sdsu.edu.

Counseling and Psychological Services offers a range of services to help support students with a variety of concerns. The office is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 619-594-5220 or visit the website: http://go.sdsu.edu/student_affairs/cps.

The student organization Education Without Borders was established in 2009. Fully student-run, the organization provides a social and academic network of resources, and support. To learn more, visit the website: http://empower.sdsu.edu/.

Dean of Students Randy Timm is available to address any individual student concerns. His office may be contacted at 619-594-5221 or email via deanofstudents@mail.sdsu.edu. Students at SDSU’s Imperial Valley Campus can contact Miguel Rahiotis, assistant dean of student affairs, at 760-768-5598 or via email at mrahioti@mail.sdsu.edu.

For students and employees, the California State University system also provides information and resources related to enrollment, employment and travel and also ways to interact with immigration officials. Information is available online: http://www2.calstate.edu/attend/student-services/resources-for-undocumented-students/Pages/faq-daca-update.aspx.

Faculty and staff

Concerned faculty can contact the Office of Faculty Advancement at 619-594-6111.

Concerned staff can contact the Center for Human Resources at 619-594-6404.

The Employee Assistance Program offers SDSU faculty and staff confidential support for a variety of concerns, including emotional, relationship, health, legal and workplace issues. Information, resources and tools are available online at www.mylifevalues.com (Login: sdsu; Password: eap) or by calling 1-800-342-8111.

Reposted from SDSU News Team.

Chancellor White’s Message to CSU Community on DACA

​Dear CSU community,

I was deeply disappointed by this morning’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program enabled thousands of academically qualified Californians to pursue their dreams at California State University campuses, and was widely acknowledged as a strategic benefit to our state and, indeed, our nation. I am joining with colleagues throughout the United States to urge Congress to pursue legislation that will restore the heart of this forward-thinking program in a timely manner.

The university’s enrollment and tuition policies are not based on DACA status so enrollment, tuition and financial aid for students is not impacted by the ending of the program. Additionally, state funding under the California Dream Act is not based on DACA status and will not change.

Our mission to provide excellent educational opportunities to all Californians shall not waver. We will continue to vigorously pursue the CSU’s commitment to advance and extend knowledge, learning and culture; to provide opportunities for individuals to develop intellectually, personally and professionally; and to prepare educated and responsible alumni who are ready and able to contribute to California’s culture and economy. To that end, I will continue to advocate for our current and future students and employees who are affected by this unfortunate development.

I encourage our DACA students to explore information recently posted here to learn more about your rights, the potential effect of the DACA repeal, and the steps we are taking to assist with the completion of your educational pursuits. This website, which also has information about legal support services, will be updated with any new information as soon as it is available.

To our wonderful CSU employees impacted by this revocation, I am troubled and dismayed that without any new federal action the CSU will be required to end the employment of some of its DACA recipients as early as March 6, 2018. While our hope is that members of Congress will pass legislation restoring the protections afforded by DACA, if they fail to act timely, regretfully, there are no options to allow CSU to continue to employ you. I am troubled by this uncertainty and the potential loss of your contributions, creativity, energy and expertise, but I am optimistic that Congress will act to address the issue. Campus Human Resource Officers and AVPs/Deans of Faculty are available to assist faculty and staff, Student Affairs will provide support to students, and Systemwide Human Resources and the Office of General Counsel will continue to provide information and additional resources. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to utilize the Employee Assistance Programs programs and counseling centers on their respective campuses.

Again, let me express my personal disappointment toward this action that will have such a profoundly negative impact on our nation, our state, our university, and so many of our colleagues, students and friends. I hope you’ll join me in urging members of Congress to work towards a long-term solution.

Reposted from CalState.edu.

My First Day podcast

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banner taken from KPBS website

First days can be exhilarating, terrifying — or a mix of both. They mark the beginning of life’s chapters and define who we ultimately become. My First Day is a series that explores these important days through people who came to San Diego from elsewhere, and now call it home.

How do people from all over come to settle in San Diego? To find out, listen to the San Diego based podcast My First Day with local documentary mediamaker Andrew Bracken by KPBS!

Giles Duley, “I can only tell you what my eyes see” published in London this week

Filmed March 2012 at TEDxObserver

Photographer Giles Duley launches his new book I can only tell you what my eyes see in London this week. The book includes images from Duley’s 2015-2016 travel, documenting the refugee crisis across the Middle East and Europe.

February 2011, Giles Duley stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan and became a triple amputee as a result of the severe injuries. In the 2012 TED Talk “When a Reporter Becomes the Story”, he spoke of his experience as a photojournalist, and a casualty of war:

…I realized [after the accident] I never set out to Congo, to Angola, to Bangladesh to take photographs. I went to those places because I wanted to make some kind of change, and photography happened to be my tool.

Last year, Duley returned to TED to talk about the power of stories.

His camera was drawn to the most vulnerable, single mothers, people with disabilities, and the elderly. He highlighted particularly the story of a Syrian woman named Khalood, who was shot in the spine in her own garden while growing vegetables. She was since paralyzed from the neck down, and her husband became her full-time caregiver as they moved to Lebanon and received informal settlement in the Beqaa Valley (eastern Lebanon, about 60 miles from Damascus).

Duley met Khalood in 2014. When he returned to Lebanon in 2016, he was shocked to find her family still in the same makeshift tent in the Beqaa Valley: “I thought of all the people I’ve met two years before, she was the most vulnerable and the most in need. I couldn’t believe that she could be living in the same tent” (2016).

Over the next few days, Duley said he had never worked so hard as a photographer, to tell Khalood’s story. It was his mission to tell people’s stories through photography, to make some kind of change.

We are facing a global crisis. The refugee crisis affects all of us. It is a global crisis that needs a global solution. I believe we are at a crossroad in how we choose to treat and deal with the refugee crisis. I also think it’s a moment in the history of our humanity in how we deal with it. […]

I am a storyteller, but stories have no power if people do not listen to them. So I want to thank you all to listen to these stories today. Together, we have made those stories concrete. But it’s now time to take action from that strong base that we have built. Because we must take action, and now is the time to act. I honestly believe, all together, we can make a difference.

–Giles Duley 2016

I can only tell you what my eyes see is a collection of these stories. All the book’s profits are donated to UNHCR-The UN Refugee Agency. Visit the UNHCR news here, and see more of Giles Duley’s works here. His personal project Legacy of War is “A five-year photographic project exploring the long-term effects of conflict globally.”

World Refugee Day 2017

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Photography: Hireahelper

June 20 is World Refugee Day.

Here are 6 stories about resettlement in San Diego by KPBS.

Since the Syrian war displacing millions of people from their homes, 10,000 refugees has resettled in the U.S. in 2016. San Diego welcomed 788 refugees, mostly in City Heights and El Cajon.

San Diego has been a hub for migrants looking to build a new life for a variety of reasons. From Vietnam refugees in 1975 to Syrian refugees arriving today, KPBS documented the stories of vibrant individuals making home in San Diego.

Video highlights: