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March 12, 2021

Storytelling Festival for Peace and Justice

Family and Community in an Era of Heightened Immigration Enforcement

Zulfiya Tursunova, Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Guilford College, recently facilitated the "Greensboro International Storytelling Festival: Stories for Peace and Justice," an initiative held since 2019. The festival was supported by the James Fleming Endowment Fund and Guilford's Center for Principled Problem Solving and Excellence in Teaching. The goal of the festival is to build cultures of peace through storytelling to enhance global citizenship and social justice in local communities. 

The speaker, Dr. William D. Lopez, is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the author of the book, Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid.

The child of a Mexican immigrant mother, William’s community-based research uses mixed methods to investigate the impacts of immigration raids while centering on the voices of community members who survive and thrive under targeted government surveillance and removal efforts. William teaches about the impacts of immigration enforcement and police violence on individuals, families, and communities. He has collaborated extensively with community organizations to make his country a safer, more just place for those of all immigration statuses.

He met with students from PECS 103 Voices of Liberation taught by Zulfiya. In his meeting, he shared his work on family separation, and students had a chance to ask questions and gain insights as they read his book for the class. 

In his talk, titled “Family and Community in an Era of Heightened Immigration Enforcement,” William discussed how immigration enforcement strongly affects the health of mixed-status immigrant communities. It's not only deportation that is harmful, he says, but the arrests, surveillance, and detention that precede it.

William, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, also discussed his work and research that resulted in the book. By considering the lives of three undocumented mothers whose family providers were removed after a home raid, his presentation explored how immigration enforcement harms mental and physical health, separates families, and causes a fear of deportation that prevention community members from using the social services in their communities that they need to stay happy, healthy, and whole. 

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