Welcoming Week at JMRL

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Welcoming Week is September 14-23 and JMRL has activities planned for all ages! During this annual series of events, communities bring together immigrants, refugees, and native-born residents to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone to our community.

The purpose of Welcoming Week to to reach across the community to reduce the barriers that immigrants face to fully participating in the community. It also serves to build bridges between newcomers and long-time residents. Last year there were over 700 Welcoming Week events across the country. Here are the events planned for our area:

Programs at the Central Library:
Lunchtime Presentation by the IRC
Friday, September 14 at 11:30am
Learn about the services the International Rescue Committee (IRC) provides to refugees in the Charlottesville area.

All Kinds of Families Storytime
Saturday, September 15 at 10:30am
This special Storytime is offered in partnership with the Charlottesville Pride Festival. Celebrate the beautiful diversity in all of our families with stories, songs, and dance. Create a rainbow craft that you can take to the Festival where you can add more decorations. Best for families with children ages 7 and under, but everyone is welcome.

Where I’m From Bookmaking
Monday, September 17 at 6pm
Explore your roots and poetic abilities using a template inspired by George Ella Lyon’s poem “Where I’m From.” Create a keepsake accordion book to preserve your words. Ages 14+.
Register here.

Mehndi Workshop
Tuesday, September 18 at 6pm
Mehndi is a form of body art in which decorative designs are applied on skin using a paste created from the powdered dry leaves of the henna plant. Come learn about the origins of this art form from ancient India and witness the preparation of henna paste. The program concludes with an opportunity to create lovely henna tattoos and sends you off with safety and care instructions. Ages 14+.
Register here.

The Good Lie (2014)
Sunday, September 23 at 1:30pm
A group of Sudanese refugees given the chance to resettle in America arrive in Kansas City, Missouri, where their encounter with an employment agency counselor forever changes all of their lives. The film will be followed by a speaker. In partnership with the Girl Scouts. Rated PG-13.

Programs at the Northside Library:
Here I Am with Terry Samala de Guzman
Friday, September 14 at 1:30pm
Life coach and former COO of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Terry de Guzman, shares her story and life tenets – insights that carried her through a complicated childhood, immigrating from the Philippines, overcoming personal and professional challenges, to build a successful career and a fulfilling life. Books available for purchase and on sale at New Dominion Bookshop.

Laughing Dragon Kung Fu (CANCELED)
Friday, September 14 at 4pm
Join us as Laughing Dragon Kung Fu presents a traditional Chinese dragon dance followed by a traditional southern Chinese lion dance.

Around the World Storytime and Crafts
Saturday, September 15 at 10:30am
Join us for a whirlwind trip around the world with stories and crafts for school-aged children. Ages 5-11.

Bollywood Fitness with Kumud Vanderveer
Saturday, September 15 at 2pm
A Bollywood dance-fitness program combining dance choreography and the music from Bollywood. This 45-minute cardio workout between changing intensity dance sequences will get you moving, sweating and feeling good. Burn calories, release stress hormones, all while having fun! No prior dance experience required. Dress comfortably. Please check with your physician for any medical conditions before registering. Ages 18+. Required Registration begins August 25.
Register here.

Telling Our Stories
Monday, September 17 at 6:30pm
Hear students working with the Thomas Jefferson Adult and Career Education (TJACE) tell their personal stories. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the program.

Coco (2017)
Tuesday, September 18 at 6:30pm
A boy journeys into the Land of the Dead to seek forgiveness from his ancestors and lift a curse. Refreshments served. Rated PG.

Spotlight on Immigration
Tuesday, September 18 at 6:30-8:45pm
Deena Sharuk from the Legal Aid Justice Center will discuss immigration law prior to a screening of the documentary Who is Dayani Cristal?: the story of a migrant who found himself in the deadly stretch of desert known as “the corridor of death.”

The Music of Appalachia: A Global History
Thursday, September 20 at 6:30-8pm
Join Emily Morrison, founder of Charlottesville’s roots music school The Front Porch as she discusses the roots of Appalachian Music traversing numerous continents and cultures. Hear guest artists play folk instruments from all over the world, and maybe get a chance to try one yourself! Be amazed at the diverse influences and extraordinary sounds influencing much of today’s modern music.

Arabic Calligraphy   
Saturday, September 22 at 10:30am
Celebrate Welcoming Week and learn about the art of calligraphy. Hafidha Bouzidi and Mouadh Benamar from the Islamic Society of Central Virginia will teach the class. All supplies provided. Required registration begins September 1.
Register here.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)   
Saturday, September 22 at 2pm
Filmmaker Morgan Neville examines the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the popular children’s TV show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Rated PG-13.

Programs at other branches:
Crozet Library
U.S. Immigration: An Overview
Monday, September 17 at 6:30pm
How has the U.S. immigrant population changed over time? Presentation and discussion by Alyson Ball, member of humanitarian group Green Valley-Sahuarita Samaritans in Arizona and of the Charlottesville area International Rescue Committee.

Gordon Ave Library
Bilingual Storytime: La hora de los cuentos
Tuesday, September 18 at 3pm
Enjoy listening to favorite stories, rhymes and songs in both Spanish and English during this special bilingual storytime.
Register here.

Visit wgcville.org for events happening around the City of Charlottesville.

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“People who see themselves as victims sometimes don’t notice when they become oppressors.”

I was told to come aloneBrown Baggers met on June 21 at Central to discuss the memoir I Was Told To Come Alone by Souad Mekhennet. This book details Mekhennet’s experience growing up as a Moroccan-Turkish Muslim immigrant in Germany and her work interviewing high profile members of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other known terrorist groups.

Most readers found the book intriguing, while a few struggled with the journalistic feel. They wondered at the type of personality it would take to keep willingly entering dangerous, life-threatening situations to pursue answers. Most readers found Mekhennet very credible and objective and chalked her risk taking career behavior to being extremely driven.

Mekhennet is an award-winning journalist who has worked for the Washington Post and the New York Times. As a result, readers found it amusing how the powerful, dangerous men she went to interview insisted on asking about her relationship status. Readers also were impressed with both Mekhennet’s access to and respect received from her interview subjects. She describes this as a combination of shared culture, connections, or heritage (as a direct descendant of Muhammad).

The virulent hatred towards “the West” and America and the growing divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims were also discussed. Readers wondered, as does the author, how an individual ends up so radicalized, not just in the Muslim world but also here at home with the increasing organization of white supremacists and even Nazi groups in America.

Readers who made it to the end of the book found the ending truly heart-wrenching. The terror has always been close to Mekhennet, as some Al Qaeda cells originated in Germany, but increasingly it is her friends and family who are affected resulting in unexpected loss and grief. Again this felt very near to Charlottesville and the experiences of last August.

While it would’ve been nice for the author to wrap up this complicated foreign affairs subject matter with a nice bow and say sunnier days are ahead, she instead was very frank about the situation which is serious and perhaps worsening. She does end on a tiny, hopeful note that we are all more alike than not, and maybe we can begin to recognize that.

Other titles:
House of Stone by Anthony Shadid
Almighty by Dan Zak
The Eternal Nazi (book she wrote with colleague)
The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker

More information:
Headcovering differences
Author Bio
Author Interview

Brown Baggers will meet again on July 19 at noon to discuss The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.

 

 

 

Memoirs of Refugees in Recognition of World Refugee Day

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
                           —“Home” by Warsan Shire

World Refugee Day is June 20. According to the United Nations every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror. For anyone who is trying to comprehend what it feels like to be driven from your home, books written by or about refugees are a good first step toward understanding. Here are a few of their stories:

alongwaygoneA Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah – Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone, and when he was twelve, his village was attacked by rebels. When he fled he was separated from his family. Beah wandered through the war-filled country before being picked up by the government army and forced to join an army unit.

 

thebestwecoulddoThe Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui – This graphic novel memoir documents the story of Thi Bui’s family’s escape from South Vietnam in the 1970s. Bui describes the difficulties her family faced as refugees and the hardships they overcame as they built a new life for their family.

 

thegirlwhoescapedisisThe Girl Who Escaped ISIS by Farida Khalaf – Farida Khalaf was 19 years old and living a normal, sheltered life in northern Iraq during the summer of 2014 when her village was attacked by ISIS. All of the men in her town were killed and the women were taken into slavery. Khalaf was sold into the homes of ISIS soldiers and is then brought to an ISIS training camp. She plots a dangerous escape for her and five other girls. This is her harrowing account.

 

hopemorepowerfulA Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by Melissa Fleming – This book chronicles the life of Doaa, a Syrian girl whose life was dramatically altered in 2011 by the onset of her country’s brutal civil war. Doaa and her fiance, Bassem, decide to flee to Europe to seek safety and an education, but just days after setting sail on a smuggler’s rickety fishing vessel along with more than five hundred other refugees, their boat is attacked and begins to sink. This is when Doaa’s struggle for survival really begins.

Books for Children

The Journey by Francesca Sanna – This picture book depicts the decisions made as a family leaves their home and everything they know in order to escape the tragedy brought by war. Best for ages 6 and up.

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams & Khadra Mohammed – Relief workers bring used clothing to a refugee camp in Pakistan, and people grab whatever they can. Ten-year-old Lina is excited when she finds a sandal that fits her foot perfectly, until she sees that another girl has the matching shoe. But soon Lina and Feroza meet and decide that it is better to share the sandals than for each to wear only one. Best for ages 7 and up.

Lost and Found Cat by Doug Kuntz & Amy Shrodes – When an Iraqi family is forced to flee their home, they carry their beloved cat with them from Iraq to Greece, keeping their secret passenger hidden away in this true story. But during the crowded boat crossing to Greece, his carrier breaks and the frightened cat runs away. The family is devastated, but must continue their journey. However, the cat is found and a worldwide community comes together to spread the word on the Internet and reunite them. Best for ages 4 and up.