An ADL NextGen 360 event in June brought together several dozen young leaders to discuss immigration and refugee issues. The leaders heard from a panel of experts that included two recent immigrants, a master educator who teaches English language learners and other educators that work with immigrants living in our community. The panel was moderated by ADL Senior Associate Regional Director Jeremy Shaver. In addition to working on immigration issues, Shaver has extensive experience working on other critical civil rights issues, including religious freedom, immigration reform, reproductive justice, LGBTQ equality, and worker’s rights.
- Bora Uzima, a 20-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who arrived in Colorado in May 2016. Although Bora has only been in the U.S. a short time, she has learned English, graduated from Emily Griffith High School and is attending college this fall. English is Bora’s seventh language. Bora has overcome great challenges and has not let that impede her success. Bora enjoys interacting with people from all different cultures so she can learn from them and they can learn from her.
- Anup Koirala, an 18-year-old refugee from Bhutan, who arrived in Colorado with his family in June 2012. Anup was born in a refugee camp in Nepal after his family was forced to flee Bhutan. Anup attended Aurora West for middle school, which has been a participant in ADL’s No Place for Hate campaign, and he recently graduated from Overland High School. This fall, Anup will attend the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley to study social work and psychology.
- Eddie Williams has been a teacher for 14 years and taught at Denver’s South High Sschool for five years, primarily in the Newcomer English Language Acquisition class for those students who have been in the US for less than six months and have limited English language proficiency. Eddie has worked with students from many countries who speak many different home languages, and also teaches courses for educators in Denver Public Schools’ English Language Acquisition Teacher Qualification department. He is featured in Helen Thorpe’s book, The Newcomers.
Bora and Anup shared elements of their personal background and the circumstances that led them to come to the United States, including the significant challenges each faced during that process. Eddie shared his experience teaching newcomers, including his interaction with and support of immigrant and refugee students. All of the panelists discussed challenges to integrating immigrant/refugee students in the public education system, how the climate toward immigrants/refugees has changed in the United States and how everyday Americans can best support immigrants and refugees.
For more information about ADL’s advocacy work in the areas of immigration and refugee issues, please visit www.adl.org/take-action. For more information about how to get involved in NextGen 360, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.