Every family in the United States originated from somewhere else. From Native Americans who migrated across a land bridge to North America to immigrants who sailed aboard a steamship to Ellis Island, many chose to come to America. Hundreds of thousands of others were brought here against their will aboard slave ships.
This week, President Donald Trump announced several measures to limit immigration to the United States. His administration shared plans to build a wall on the Mexican border and to more aggressively deport undocumented immigrants. He also announced an order barring Syrians and other refugees from entering the country and suspended immigration from seven primarily Muslim nations.
An immigrant from West Africa, Alhassan Susso came from a long lineage of storytellers known as griots. He recently published his first memoir, The Light of Darkness - The Story of the Griots' Son, which traces his journey to America as a nearly blind teenager and the balance of becoming American while maintaining his deep African roots. On Facing Today, he shares how his own cultural perceptions - and the perceptions others had of him - helped him create a classroom of compassion, understanding, and tolerance as an American History Teacher.
Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing series with Listenwise. This series connects Facing History’s themes with today’s current events using public radio to guide and facilitate discussions around the social issues of our time. We will take a look at the presidential election and each candidate’s position on immigration.
Classrooms are meant to be safe spaces for students to learn new lessons, share their thoughts, and understand the world around them. This can be challenging for new students - particularly those from different countries - but it’s essential to students' academic and personal growth to feel included and valued. Creating a welcoming environment can take a little extra work, but it’s possible and there are small, easy ways to do it.
My students are immigrants from over 40 different countries. Often, they have recently arrived to the United States, and are thrust into a new city, a new language, and a new culture. They live with caregivers they either have never met before or haven’t seen in years and live in less than ideal conditions. With this life experience, they bring a worldview that isoften wise beyond their years. Many of them know what it means to be a victim or live under an oppressive regime where they have no voice. And many are taking great risks and experience great loss.
Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing series with Listenwise. This series connects Facing History’s themes with today’s current events using public radio to guide and facilitate discussions around the social issues of our time. We will take a look at the current responses to the Syrian refugee crisis.
On November 5, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario will join Facing History in Cleveland, Ohio, for a Community Conversation—one in a series of public talks held across the country in partnership with The Allstate Foundation. You can RSVP here today. Ahead of the talk, we sat down with the author of the bestseller Enrique's Journey to discuss immigration, reporting during times of conflict, and the power young people have to shape our world for the better.
What is our responsibility to refugees fleeing from war and genocide?
On September 3, the BBC's Inside Europe Blog published images of police officers in the Czech Republic writing on the hands of detained migrants as a way to identify them. In the post, reporter Rob Cameron observed that the images “are an uncomfortable reminder of a different event and a different era. But the Czech authorities appeared totally unaware of the unfortunate visual connotations with the Holocaust, when prisoners at Auschwitz were systematically tattooed with serial numbers.”
Over the last few weeks, South Africa has been rocked by xenophobic violence.
According to The New York Times, approximately five million immigrants have settled in South Africa since the end of the apartheid in 1994. Many are refugees, or are pursuing economic opportunities in the country, which has become a relatively stable multiracial democracy. Many native South Africans are greeting these newcomers with prejudice, hatred, and violence—destroying local businesses and in some cases committing murder. Today, South Africa’s immigrant population lives in fear.
Unfortunately, the trend is not new. In 2007, a year before xenophobic attacks would break out nationwide, violence erupted in the small township of Zwelethemba, about two hours from Cape Town.
A Facing History teacher at the local high school recognized that his community was in crisis.