Immigration

Resettlement Through The Eyes of Refugees

Photographs with Text: Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County

"Photovoice” is the process of putting cameras in the hands of traditionally marginalized community members to allow them to record, reflect on, and share their community’s strengths and concerns. Photovoice participants have the opportunity to capture their current experiences through pictures, with the goal of sparking dialogue and action related to the themes depicted in the photos.

In the fall of 2016, a group of refugees from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Iran met weekly with a facilitator and translators to engage in a Photovoice project at Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County. Together they learned about the Photovoice method and about composing photographs, issues of ethics and safety, and visual storytelling. They were then given digital cameras.

Guided by prompts such as “When I first arrived in the U.S…”, “What is most challenging about living here?” “What makes you feel welcome?” and “What does ‘home’ mean?” they were asked to photograph moments in their daily lives that had meaning for them as they worked to make a new home in the Ann Arbor area.

The resulting exhibit consists of 26 insightful photos-with-narratives that will illuminate the experience of adjusting to life in a new land. As you view this Photovoice exhibit, we hope that you will consider what it means to be a newcomer and what role you can play in sharing our community with recently resettled refugees.

MiASLA 2017 Landscape Architecture Design Awards Exhibit

Photo and Text Panels

Each year, the Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (MiASLA) honors the best in landscape architecture in Michigan. MiASLA is excited to showcase entries to their 32nd annual design awards program at the Mallets Creek Branch. The exhibit features projects from around the state including built projects and planning and research documents. Projects will be judged by the Kentucky Chapter of ASLA and winning projects will be awarded at the MiASLA Annual Meeting at the Gem Theatre in Detroit on September 28, 2017.

Landscape architects analyze, plan, design, and manage built and natural environments. They design parks, campuses, streetscapes, trails, plazas, and other projects that help define communities, and provide beautiful, functional, and sustainable spaces. Interested in learning more about landscape architecture? Visit asla.org.

Creating With Clay

Ceramics: Clay-Art-Friends Group

This ceramic exhibit is the third annual show by the Clay-Art-Friends at AADL. The participating artists this year are: Nancy Bulkley, Jeanine Center, Betty Locey, Caron Valentine-Marsh, Jessica Krivan, and Lineke Zuiderweg.

Once one learns to create with clay, if it is on the potter's wheel or hand building, it almost becomes an addiction. One can make decorative or functional ceramics, play with colors or draw on them. The creativity never ends. After the glazed pieces come out of the kiln, it is always a surprise to see the results.

Most of the work in this exhibit is done by hand building: using fresh rolled out, coiled, extruded or leather hard clay to create shapes and objects which never could be made on a potter's wheel. Examples of all kinds of hand building techniques, which illustrate the process, will be on display in this exhibit.

2017 Kerrytown BookFest Library Exhibit

Covers and Posters: Kerrytown BookFest

The annual Kerrytown BookFest exhibit this year celebrates the 10th annual Book Cover Design contest for high school students. The contest, open to all Michigan High School students, asked the students to re-imagine a cover for a chosen book and give a visual interpretation to the written word. This year’s book is Last Seen Leaving, a young adult novel by Caleb Roehrig. The novel is set in Ann Arbor.

Members of this year’s judging panel will announce the first, second and third place winners at the annual Library Reception on the Third Floor of the Downtown Library on Friday, September 8 at 7 p.m.

This year’s judges were author Caleb Roehrig; Cover designer and writer Molly McCaffery, and children’s book expert Jackie LaRose. The judges evaluated the work submitted from schools in Flint, Kensington Woods, Hillsdale and St. Clair Shores. The finalists were chosen on the basis of originality, execution, and understanding and application of the subject matter.

The finalists are:
Ashley Abel, 12th Grade, Genesee Career Institute, Flint
Brandon DeMond, 11th Grade, Lakeview High School
Alexis Higgins, 12th Grade, Hillsdale High School
Sydney Jones, 11th Grade, Kensington Woods
Autumn Stoddard, 12th Grade, Genessee Career Institute, Flint

To celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the BookFest, this year’s exhibit includes original framed posters from each year of the Festival. Many of these posters were hand letterpress printed and are works of art in themselves. Artists include Tom Hollander (2003), Jim Horton (2007, 2009, 2011), Nicole Ray (2017), Pati Scobey (2006) and Darcy Bowden (2004).

Resettlement Through The Eyes of Refugees

Photographs with Text: Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County

"Photovoice” is the process of putting cameras in the hands of traditionally marginalized community members to allow them to record, reflect on, and share their community’s strengths and concerns. Photovoice participants have the opportunity to capture their current experiences through pictures, with the goal of sparking dialogue and action related to the themes depicted in the photos.

In the fall of 2016, a group of refugees from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Iran met weekly with a facilitator and translators to engage in a Photovoice project at Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County. Together they learned about the Photovoice method and about composing photographs, issues of ethics and safety, and visual storytelling. They were then given digital cameras.

Guided by prompts such as “When I first arrived in the U.S…”, “What is most challenging about living here?” “What makes you feel welcome?” and “What does ‘home’ mean?” they were asked to photograph moments in their daily lives that had meaning for them as they worked to make a new home in the Ann Arbor area.

The resulting exhibit consists of 26 insightful photos-with-narratives that will illuminate the experience of adjusting to life in a new land. As you view this Photovoice exhibit, we hope that you will consider what it means to be a newcomer and what role you can play in sharing our community with recently resettled refugees.

A History of Welcoming

They came for a new life, better opportunities and a promise of freedom. They also came to escape war, political oppression, hunger and natural disasters. Whatever the reason, Ann Arbor has long put out the welcome mat for immigrants and refugees, and those who came left their mark on their new home.

Every year new citizens of the United States have pledged their allegiance to the United States at swearing in ceremonies in District Court in Ann Arbor. Each year the Ann Arbor News recorded the names of new citizens from every corner of the world. They were students, carpenters, nurses, engineers, barbers, homemakers, lexicographers, medical technologists and scholars. They were Ethiopian, Chinese, Haitian, Syrian, British, French, Greek, immigrants from more than 100 others nations of the world. The news ran photos showing new patriots beaming with anticipation, waving little American flags and, sometimes, shedding tears to have finally made that final step in the long road to citizenship. The names of former immigrants can be seen all over town in historic buildings, park names, long thriving businesses.

Some came to Ann Arbor as refugees. In 1957, Joseph Kovacs celebrated his 12th birthday with two birthday cakes and his new classmates at Eberwhite School. Joseph and his family had fled Hungary after Soviet troops drove tanks into Budapest. They found a warm welcome in Ann Arbor. In 1940, children from Britain found a safe haven from German bombs. Others from France, Germany and other countries found their way from the ravages of Nazism and World War II. Refugees were later welcomed in 1964 from Castro’s Cuba, in 1980 from Vietnam, in 1982 from Haiti and from many other human and natural situations. Local churches found a place for displaced persons, local charitable groups gave shelter, clothes, food and opportunities.

Their stories are became part of Ann Arbor’s story, a town where people from every walk of life and every corner of the world made a contribution to the community.

Navigating the Immigration Experience: Author Saundra Amrhein Discusses Her Book “Green Card Stories”

Join us as author Saundra Amrhein shares life stories depicted in her book, "Green Card Stories," including the legal, social, emotional, financial, and spiritual obstacles that mirrors what immigrants continue to face across the USA.

This event is held in conjunction with Ann Arbor District Library’s film and discussion series Latino Americans: 500 Years of History.

"Green Card Stories" depicts 50 recent U.S. immigrants—each with permanent residence or citizenship—in powerfully written short narratives and compelling portraits. Each story is as old as the foundation of this nation, but also reflects the global trends and conflicts of the 21st century. Arriving from all corners of the globe, coming for work, love, to study, invest, or escape persecution, the people in this book share a steely resourcefulness and a determination to fulfill their potential in America.

Saundra Amrhein is a freelance journalist, writer, author, speaker and reporter writing articles, news and blogs about Immigration and Cuba. A former reporter at the St. Petersburg Times, she has been a journalist for more than 21 years, focusing on immigration, asylum, and refugee issues.

Michigan Notable Book Author and U-M Professor Sally Howell Discusses Her Book “Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past”

Join us to hear Michigan Notable Books author Sally Howell speak about the history of Islam in Detroit, a city that is home to several of the nation’s oldest, most diverse Muslim communities.

In the early 1900s, there were thousands of Muslims in Detroit. Most came from Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire, and British India. In 1921, they built the nation’s first mosque in Highland Park. By the 1930s, new Islam-oriented social movements were taking root among African Americans in Detroit. By the 1950s, Albanians, Arabs, African Americans, and South Asians all had mosques and religious associations in the city, and they were confident that Islam could be, and had already become, an American religion. When immigration laws were liberalized in 1965, new immigrants and new African American converts rapidly became the majority of U.S. Muslims. For them, Detroit’s old Muslims and their mosques seemed oddly Americanized, even unorthodox.

Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past explores the rise of Detroit’s earliest Muslim communities. It documents the culture wars and doctrinal debates that ensued as these populations confronted Muslim newcomers who did not understand their manner of worship or the American identities they had created. Looking closely at this historical encounter, it provides a new interpretation of the possibilities and limits of Muslim incorporation in American life and shows how Islam has become American in the past and how the anxieties many new Muslim Americans and non-Muslims feel about the place of Islam in American society today are not inevitable, but are part of a dynamic process of political and religious change that is still unfolding.

Sally Howell is Assistant Professor of History and Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

This event includes a booksigning and books will be for sale.

Naturalization: A Step To Citizenship With Attorney Ruby Robinson

Are you, or is someone in your family, one of the 140,000-plus lawful permanent residents living in Michigan who are eligible to naturalize today? Did you want to begin the steps to become a citizen? What are your waiting for?

Ruby Robinson, a staff attorney with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC), will be providing an informational session on the benefits of and requirements for naturalization, along with the process. There is no better time than right now to learn about or apply for naturalization and begin the steps to become a citizen. Following the presentation, Mr. Robinson will be available to answer your questions!

Ruby Robinson is an attorney with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC), a resource center for advocates seeking equal justice for Michigan's immigrants. MIRC works to build a thriving Michigan where immigrant communities are fully integrated and respected.

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