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Series looks at ‘integral’ role of migrants in America

March 23, 2018
man carrying a box of grapes over his headThe Humanities Center is hosting a series of events titled “Planting a Seed: Migrant Workers in the American Landscape.” The program will examine the long, complex, and storied history of migration from the Mexican border to the United States. (Getty Images photo)

“Migrants and immigrants are integral to the nation’s, the region’s, and Rochester’s own history,” says Molly Ball, a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Rochester.

Ball is an organizer and speaker for a series of Humanities Center events titled “Planting a Seed: Migrant Workers in the American Landscape.” The program will examine the long, complex, and storied history of migration from the Mexican border to the United States.

“We need to pay closer attention to this group that is often marginalized in our research, our teaching, and our everyday interactions,” says Ball.

The series kicks off with Ball’s talk on March 25 at 5 pm in Morey Hall room 221. Titled “Migrants in the Movies,” Ball examines the relationship between the US and Mexico in the 20th century, looking at the representation of migrants and immigrants in film and the blurring lines between these two groups.

Next up on March 26 at 6:30 pm in Schlegel Hall at the Rotunda is a roundtable discussion, “Migrants for Change,” about the impact of collaborations between migrant workers and community organizations. Participants include:

  • Ramón Torres, president of Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), a union of independent agricultural workers from Washington state and the only labor union led by over 400 indigenous Mixteco and Triqui farm workers.
  • Edgar Franks, a representative of Washington state-based Community to Community, an organization that has aided in FUJ’s quest to be recognized as an official union.
  • Carly Fox, a worker rights advocate with the Worker Justice Center of New York. Fox comes as a representative of Alianza Agricola, a western New York farmworker-led, grassroots organization advocating for restored access to driver’s licenses. She will be joined by another Alianza member.
  • Karen Stein, the Ruth Miller Brody and Bernard Brody Endowed Professor at the University’s School of Nursing, who researches ways to minimize health disparities in the immigrant population. Stein has also been invited to serve on the board of the Rural & Migrant Ministry.

The program concludes on April 4 at 5 pm in Morey Hall 221 with a student-led discussion, “Students for Change.”

Ball says she is “looking forward to students, faculty, and the university community’s building new relationships and getting involved.”

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Category: Society & Culture