One of the more exciting (and positive!) developments of 2019 is the work of NIOT-San Rafael and its partners. The Northern California NIOT chapter is reaching out to support immigrants and immigrant families and create connections with their neighbors. A recent event, Our Stories: Immigration in Our Community, was a smashing success. Over 500 community members gathered to hear discussions on immmigration, led by San Rafael High School's Link Leadership Class.
From NIOT San Rafael — In November, San Rafael High School’s Link Leadership Class, under direction of SRHS teacher Faye Padayachee, hosted an evening that showcased students' personal stories of immigration while interweaving history to share with our community the realities of immigration. The evening included traditional and modern dance performances and student poetry.
Over 500 community members heard discussions on why people decide to come here; the struggles students who have immigrated go through; and how people can be allies. The event clarified misconceptions surrounding immigration and to prevent instances of hate that we have seen throughout the nation from happening here.
The event featured several SRHS students bravely and admirably sharing their personal immigration stories with the attendees. Additionally, a highlight of the evening included a panel answering community questions about why someone would leave their country; the realities of being a DACA recipient; the legal process for an undocumented resident; the life of a local business owner and the journey a local firefighter went through after leaving El Salvador as a teenager.
"What an incredible inspiring night, so well organized by San Rafael High School LinkCrew students and all courageous souls sharing their powerful stories," commented Maika Llorens Gulati, San Rafael City Schools Board Member.
During the planning for this event San Rafael Police Chief Diana Bishop, met with the Link Crew students multiple times and developed a relationship of friendship and trust. The students asked Chief Bishop to make the evening's final remarks and to lead join them in singing "Lean On Me." Thank you to Police Chief Bishop!
The student-led evening was proudly sponsored by the partners of Not In Our Town San Rafael.