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Shippensburg University Teach-In Event on Racial Injustice

Wednesday, November 8, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tyler Woodcook
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Rebecca Zelner, Shippensburg University MSW Student, NASW-PA Intern


Shippensburg University hosted a teach-in within the social work department based on racial injustice. This year, the topic was immigration. The day was broken down by four sessions. The first session, we discussed myths and facts about immigration. News outlets and social media sites send untrue messages about immigration status in the United States daily. We are responsible for breaking down those myths and knowing the facts. The first session also included discussion about the social work code of ethics, and the CSWE’s stance on immigration. A Ted Talk was also shown, as the facilitator is an immigrant from the Philippians. The second session was conducted with an Immigration Simulation. Everyone in the room was given a passport with a story of a person within the United States, and whether they would ever be able to receive permanent citizenship. This showed the privileges of people who come to the United States with power and skills. If you are not a famous actor, singer or athlete, if you do not have an advanced degree, and if you have no recognizable skills, you will never get citizenship in the US. The discussion led to the question, “what happens to that person if they never gain citizenship? Do they stay ‘illegal’ in the US, or do they return to their home country that they have been away from for years?”

The third session discussed all about policies and procedures regarding immigration. Dr. Marita Flager, Associate Professor in the Social Work Department, explained her journey to gain citizenship in the US. She experienced the process and difficulty with gaining citizenship. Her story is real, sincere, and frightening. This session discussed the historical timeline of immigration states and acts that have been enacted throughout time in the US such as Naturalization Act of 1790 and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. One of the best quotes used during this session was, “Calling someone an illegal immigrant is like using a racial slur. It is demeaning a certain population of people living in the world based on their legality status”. This session also talked about the Dreamers and the Dream Act. Additionally, permanent residence does not equal citizenship. permanent residence gets a “green card” without the fear of leaving the US and never being able to get back in. They can also work and go to school.

The fourth session began with an activity with large butcher block paper. Groups wrote down ways to advocate and speak for immigrants in the US, and how social workers can make a difference. We discussed how to appropriately use social media, using hashtags and following the best people on Twitter and Facebook. To wrap up the day of learning, everyone was prompted to make a small poster with inspiring words or hashtags that will be hung throughout the hall in the social work department. This day created an opportunity to learn about immigration, and to grow as social work advocates.





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