Immigrant Dreams, American Realities’ Impressive Student Deliverables

This year, students in the online “Immigrant Dreams, American Realities” course taught by HLP Director Gunther Peck learned about the history of migration to the United States and conducted research on historical immigration topics of their choosing. Students created a set of public-facing deliverables to communicate their learning to the outside world. Some of these projects went above and beyond. The three projects listed below seamlessly blended information and artistry, making them incredibly useful resources for delivering immigration education.

María Zurita wrote and performed a bilingual Spanish/English poem which explores the complexity of the immigrant experience. Zurita wanted to challenge the perception that immigrants lead easy lives. To do this, she examined her own experience as an immigrant from Mexico and additionally used excerpts from the early twentieth century journals of the Greek immigrant Haralambos Kambouris, a resource students studied in the class. Zurita translated excerpts of Kambouris’s poetry into Spanish and wrote her own experiences in English, putting the two immigration stories in conversation with one another and juxtaposing the emotions of the early and long-term immigration experiences. Listen to her poem here, and read the text here.

Shania Khoo and Jiahui Shen created a zine documenting the history of Asian immigration to the United States. In three sections, Khoo and Shen examine a history of immigration policy in the United States with a focus on policies specifically affecting Asian migration, a series of court cases determining the racial identity of various Asian immigrants, and break down some myths regarding immigrants and the immigrant experience. The visually stunning zine seizes on the countercultural punk history of the form to highlight and challenge the historical narrative of immigration and particularly Asian immigrants and Asian Americans, incorporating facts and emotion to create a new narrative. View the zine here.

Gracie Joo produced a podcast that documents how her own experience as an Asian immigrant has impacted the way she views the immigration system. She further examines three high-profile cases of Asian immigrants and Asian Americans upholding white supremacy, then pivots to imagine what an anti-racist future for immigration policy might look like, ending with a call to action to build this future. Listen to the podcast here.