Below is an end of the year letter from Re-Imagining Migration Executive Director Adam Strom
November 24, 2020
I am writing to invite you to take a step to address one of the most pressing and urgent challenges facing our nation today. Significant demographic change associated with immigration, increased focus on the need for racial justice, deeply fractured partisan politics, and rampant disinformation that obfuscates the truth have created a powder keg of discord and violence. Our differences are hardening into dangerous fissures that threaten our shared future. And the recent election results serve as a stark reminder of how very deeply divided we are and the need for new solutions to create a more welcoming, equitable, and sustainable democracy in the United States. Bridge builders are desperately needed to create the foundations of inclusive and connected identities across time, place, and culture.
While there is a lot of discussion about the impact of the challenges we face, there is not enough attention being paid to solutions. Since 2017, Re-Imagining Migration has been using a fresh, new, trailblazing approach and providing solutions to reach educators in schools, museums, and other educational and cultural institutions. While other organizations address issues of bias, we are one of the only organizations already addressing the needs of immigrant-origin children, 85% of whom are perceived as people of color, while also educating all children with the critical understanding and empathy necessary to build and sustain inclusive communities. We need your support to introduce our work to millions more educators and the youth they serve.
The Challenge: Schools and other educational institutions are in the crucible, tasked with preparing all young people to build a shared future with people whose identities, experiences, and worldviews are often different than their own. Yet, widespread myths and stereotypes about immigrants are fueling an increase in bullying and bigotry directed at newcomers from their peers and teachers as well. Not surprisingly, the longer immigrant students are in US schools, the more likely they are to become disengaged. Meanwhile, educators face a number of significant hurdles, from a lack of adequate resources and training to unpredictable disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Our Solution: Re-Imagining Migration’s work counters bias, bigotry, and hate among all learners with a perspective on belonging that recognizes migration as one of our most basic human experiences and promotes the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are fundamental for success in our changing world. We are dismantling the barriers that inhibit immigrant-origin youth’s opportunities for success while supporting them in their academic learning, social and emotional development, and civic empowerment. To bring this work to life, we focusing on six strategies:
> Open Source Curriculum and Resource Development. We create developmentally appropriate resources and curricula for use in schools and other educational settings.
> On-Demand Professional Development We provide educators with the knowledge and resources to make migration a part of their curriculum and culture so all students feel supported in their social, emotional, academic, and civic growth.
> Migration in Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Institutions Museums. Libraries and other cultural institutions can play an important role in our communities. We are forging partnerships with leading museums to create inclusive and respectful environments and deep explorations of the experience of migration using objects, exhibitions, and works of art.
> Re-imagining Migration Media and News Literacy Initiative. Media are one of the most powerful forces informing our outlook toward migration, newcomers, and demographic change. We seek to work with journalists, media content producers, and educators to promote young people’s critical engagement with news about migration, demographic change, and racial prejudice.
>The Re-imagining Migration Education Leader Program. We select and support a new class of educational leaders who implement projects that adapt the Re-imagining Migration framework to their own communities. In turn, those projects lead to new curricula and resources.
> Re-imagining Migration Annual Seminar. Re-Imagining Migration gathers education leaders from across the country to learn the Re-imagining Migration framework and develop a network of peers and peer organizations who can support them as colleagues and partners as they take what they have learned back to their own communities. Developing a network of leaders is central to our ability to build demand and scale our work.
We are proud of the success we have had to date. We work with over 40 cooperating organizations that reach over 5 million educators and 50 million students including the American Federation of Teachers, Discovery Education, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Gallery of Art; and have presented to thought leaders from schools, scholars, and educational leaders across the United States to the OECD, UNESCO, and the Vatican. Our goal during the next three years will be increased expansion and scaling of our work across the country, creating new pilot sites, implementing a national survey to document the learning environment faced by immigrant-origin students in the U.S., and executing our critical media project to decrease disinformation and bias against students of immigrant origin.
To do this work, we need you to be part of the solution. Please consider making a financial contribution to Re-Imagining Migration to help us secure the future for our children and our nation. I am sharing with you below a link to our Donate Page.
Thanking you in advance,