Film Collection: Talking About Immigrants | Not in Our Town

Film Collection: Talking About Immigrants

New Immigrants Share Their Stories (Narrated by Yul Kwon)

"We don't come over here to do people wrong. We come over here for a better future for our kids and for ourselves. " —Facing History student 

In the video above, we meet the students of Newcomers High School in Long Island City, which specializes in teaching recent immigrants, and those of St. Luke's, a private middle school in Manhattan, who have come together to dialogue about difference and combat bias. 

Here we have compiled Not In Our School/Not In Our Town videos centered around immigration. Whether they are students hosting a lunch-time demonstration, a policy-maker reflecting on his own history, or a group of librarians providing services for immigrants in their community--the people in the following videos share their own unique stories of how their actions have led to vital conversations about immigration in their own communities. 


No Human Being Was Born Illegal
Each year, Facing History teacher Jane Wooster asks the students in her classes to take on a "social action" project of their own choosing. This year, several of the students have chosen to conduct a lunch-time demonstration to draw attention to the use of the word "illegal" to describe undocumented immigrants, and start a school-wide conversation about the way immigrants are perceived in their community.
Shajee's Story: Middle School Students Learn About Islam
Seventh graders at Orinda Intermediate School are taking a personal approach to the study of Islam by inviting Shajee Syed-Quadri to be a guest speaker in their world history class. As president of the Muslim Student Association at Irvington High School, Shajee shares stories about what it's like to be a typical American teenager and a practicing Muslim. This peer-to-peer program breaks down religious and cultural stereotypes, and provides the space for students to connect and learn from each other.

Mayor Pontieri: We Are All Immigrants

"If you sleep here, you are a resident here. Documented or undocumented, it doesn't matter." —Patchogue, New York Mayor Paul Pontieri

Patchogue, New York Mayor Paul Pontieri reflects on his family's history of immigration, his love of his hometown, and how his life has influenced his policy of inclusion for all Patchogue residents. 


Ana Maria Caraballo: Local Radio's Connection to the Community

"It was stunning that something like this would happen in our community at this time and age, we are still confronting racism and trying to deal with all that drama that is unneccessary."

Local radio host Ana Maria Caraballo of La Fiesta WBON becomes an important connection for the community after the murder of Marcelo Lucero. On her radio call-in show, Ana Maria's switchboard lights up with calls from local residents who share stories, ask questions to local police about immigration issues, and seek information about their rights.


Patchogue Library's Gilda Ramos: A Voice for Her Community

 "The Library is like a place where everyone is welcome—they feel comfortable, they attend our programs, and it's a place the community trusts." —Gilda Ramos, Librarian Assistant at Patchogue-Medford Library

Librarian assistant Gilda Ramos became a translator for the Lucero family who came to Patchogue from Gualaceo, Ecuador as the community gathered to honor Marcelo Lucero. Ramos also translated for Latino residents at community events and meetings that were held at the library, the Patchogue Theatre, vigils and rallies. Like libraries across the country, the Patchogue-Medford Library is a place where people come together and feel supported and safe.
Mosaic: No One Walks Alone
"There is so much more awareness now of hate crimes and discrimination but I still feel it's a problem. I still feel it's something that's going to take time to heal and be addressed completely." —Shannon Lustig, Patchogue-Medford High School Teacher
After a series of anti-immigrant attacks by local teenagers ended with the hate crime killing of local immigrant Marcelo Lucero, art students at Patchogue-Medford High School wanted to do something positive for the Lucero family and spread a message of peace. Over the course of a year, students gathered after school to create We Are All United: No One Walks Alone, a mosaic dedicated to Marcelo Lucero.


A Novel Approach to Talking About Diversity

"We wanted to have an ongoing, open, non-threatening forum or our members and community members to talk about issues of acceptance and appreciation of other cultures and other people." —Caroline Tu Farley, Fort Collins NIOTA

The Fort Collins Not In Our Town Alliance (NIOTA) created a book club to bring community members together to discuss issues of acceptance, diversity, and inclusion. This video documents NIOTA's discussion of The Tortilla Curtain, a novel about the parallel stories of a Mexican couple and a white couple in Los Angeles. The book was chosen to generate discussion about immigration issues.


After an Immigrant Murder—A Call for Response and Unity

"Unity in the Community is trying to rebuild the community. We want to send the message that everyone is welcome." —Dexter Fox, Unity in the Community Member

A group of concerned citizens in Prince William County, VA, work to rebuild community in the aftermath of the killing of a Mexican day laborer, Serafin Negrete.