Using Poetry to Connect in Times of Displacement
On January 22 from 11am to 12:30 pm, join a panel with teachers, scholars, and poets who explore the ways that poetry connects communities and encourages deeper levels of encouragement, a valuable tool in an era where we are seeking new ways to connect to one another.
Tino Gallegos is the Immigration Liaison for the City of San Antonio. As Immigration Liaison, Mr. Gallegos works with stakeholders and immigrant and refugee residents to improve access to services as well as to find opportunities for collaboration on initiatives that improve the quality of life of San Antonio’s immigrants and refugees.
Mr. Gallegos previously worked as an attorney and advocate for immigrants and the Latino community for over seventeen years. He began his career as a staff attorney at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Edinburg, Texas on the U.S. – Mexico border primarily serving victims of family violence and other violent crime. From 2007 to 2010, he was the Border Rights Team Manager at TRLA litigating and advocating in defense of the rights of the residents of the Texas – Mexico border.
Carmen Tafolla is the author of more than 30 books, including This River Here, The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans, and her latest poetry collection Carmen Tafolla: New & Selected Works (TCU Poet Laureate Series.) Former President of the Texas Institute of Letters, she is a Professor Emerita at UTSA, State Poet Laureate of Texas 2015 and was the First Poet Laureate of the City of San Antonio. Recipient of the Américas Award, five International Latino Book Awards, the Art of Peace Award and many other distinctions, she has been recognized for work which “gives voice to the peoples and cultures of this land.”
Dr. Lopita Nath is the Chair of the History Department and the Director of the Asian Studies Program at the University of the Incarnate Word. She is also the Vice-Chair of the Faculty Advisory Board at the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership at the university. Dr. Nath's expertise is on migration in Asia and issues of human displacement, refugees, and human rights. In 2003, she authored her first book, The Nepalis in Assam: Cross Border Movements and Ethnicity, (Minerva: Kolkata, India). Her current research is on the Bhutanese refugee resettlement in the United States. To understand the refugee crisis better, Dr. Nath has visited and interviewed the refugees in the Bhutanese Refugee Camps in Nepal three times, visited Bhutan for a better perspective, and also worked with refugees in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and several cities in Ohio. Dr. Nath has presented at several U.S. and International conferences and published several articles and book chapters on her research. She is the past president of the Southwest Conference on Asian Studies, Coordinator of the European, Middle-Eastern and Asian Studies at the Southwest Historical Association and serves on the Catholic Charities Refugee Advisory Board and the Faculty Advisory Board of Institute of Texan Cultures.
Octavio Quintanilla, San Antonio Poet Laureate (2018-2020). He is the author of the poetry collection, If I Go Missing (SloughPress, 2014) and several chapbooks; the most recent titled Wasted Time (Alabrava,2019). He teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the M.A/M.F.A. programs at Our Lady of the Lake University. More information can be found at octavioquintanilla.com
V.M.K. Morrison has a masters in English (Arcadia U.), a masters in adult education (Temple U.), and a doctorate in higher education assessment (University of Pennsylvania). Dr. Morrison has been a college teacher and administrator for 26 years; writing info can be found at vmkmorrison.com.
Natalia Treviño: born in Mexico, is the author of the chapbook, VirginX, whichwas a finalist for the open chapbook contest with Finishing Line press. A professorof English in San Antonio, she learned English from Sesame Street’s Bert andErnie. Her awards include the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the SanAntonio Arts Foundation Literary Award, the Menada Literary Award at theDitet E Naimit Poetry Festival in Macedonia, and several others. Her first book, Lavando La Dirty Laundry, was a national and international awards finalist. Natalia’s poems appear in Bordersenses, Borderlands, The Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, and other journals and anthologies.
Lisha Adela García has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and currently resides in Texas with her beloved four-legged children. Her books, A Rope of Luna and Blood Rivers, were published by Blue Light Press of San Francisco. Her chapbook, This Stone Will Speak was published by Pudding House Press. In addition, she is widely published in various journals including the Boston Review, Crab Orchard Review, Border Senses, Muse and Mom Egg Review. Lisha has been nominated for a Pushcart and was recently recognized with the San Antonio Tri-Centennial Poetry Prize.
Abril Garcia-Linn was born into a family of Chicano artists. Growing up she participatedin the family tradition of teatro and costume/mask making. She is an artist, writer, performer, art instructor, seamstress, cultural arts advocate. She is passionate about the use of art in all its forms as a vehicle to empower people and cultivate community. She is a founding member of the poetry/performance group Women of Ill Repute:Refute. Through her work teaching sewing and crafting to refugees she fulfilled one of her life's dreams and in the process created beautiful friendships with people from around the world. She continues to volunteer for various non-profit arts organizations. She works as an Instructional Aid for NISD Adult Education and Literacy and serves as President of the board for The Conjunto HeritageTaller.
Joy Jiménez is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator, and mother of one son. A SanAntonio native, Joy spent nearly a decade abroad, where she helped diverse minoritygroups tell their stories. Since her return in 2009 she has presented her poetry, theatre,and visual art pieces in venues around San Antonio. Joy has facilitated the production of over 50 original plays created by and for San Antonio youth. She currently teaches for Gemini Ink and Magik Theatre and is the co-founder of Raise The Whisper, a writingand art collective for those affected by family rape and sexual abuse.
This fun activity is designed to bridge friendship in a no stress Zoom environment. We will share cultural information about customs and traditions. This activity was encouraged by a group of young girls ages 8-18 from Afghanistan whom we met when sharing produce boxes in collaboration with Eco Centro. They were excited to talk about about Eid al-Adha - the Festival of Sacrifice - which falls on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Muslim lunar calendar. Thank you Eco Centro for sharing produce boxes and funding for art supplies. A big thank you for other individual donors.
This bracelet project was inspired by two young girls and a desire to raise money and make a donation to a favorite organization. It grew into the girls wanting to meet the children they hoped to benefit. Making and exchanging beaded bracelets with encouraging words is a universal symbol for friendship. We are thankful for the donation and hope to continue in the tradition of building relationships through crafting and sharing. This activity has launched us into integrating arts and crafts into our existing mentoring activities in collaboration with UIW Global Refugee Studies Class.
CIELO Unity in Action and the City of San Antonio's Immigration Liaison are conducting a soft launch of the Website for the Welcome: A Poetry Declaration project. The project's goal is to have an open and well informed platform for advocacy for human rights with a focus on encouraging immigrants and refugees to share their stories through the creative and literary arts. The project is ongoing throughout the year, but will culminate with a celebration of the program participants on World Refugee Day.
A growing number of places recognize that being welcoming leads to prosperity. Welcoming America provides the roadmap and support they need to become more inclusive toward immigrants and all residents. Launched in 2009, Welcoming America has spurred a growing movement across the United States, with one in eight Americans living in a Welcoming Community. Our award-winning, social entrepreneurship model is beginning to scale globally.
A non-profit, non-partisan organization, Welcoming America is proud to support the many diverse communities and partners who are leading efforts to make their communities more vibrant places for all. https://www.welcomingamerica.org/programs/welcoming-week