Organizations and Resources

The number of English Language Learners in the United States grows each and every day as there are new immigrants entering the country. The number of public schools that are involved in the ELL programs has increased, especially from 2002-2003 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. In 2002-2003 school year there was 4,118, 918 public schools involved in the English Language Learner programs and in 2012-2013 there was an increase to 4,397,318.

One nonprofit organization helping those schools is the Internationals Network for Public Schools. The network was founded in 1985 and provides a first class education for those ELL students. There are now 19 public high schools and academies in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington D.C. region, according to nytimes.com. In New York there is a 64 percent average rate for students graduating in four years, but for the ELL students graduating in four years is at a far low, 34 percent. There could be many reasons for ELL students falling behind in the classroom, however there, one city is succeeded in preparing ELL students for graduation.

Erie public and private schools have a graduation rate of 76 percent for ELL students. This rate is greater than other major cities in Pennsylvania. Erie has many more resources than other cities including Pennsylvania International Academy (PIA). PIA provides flexible services for international students from all over the world. One of those PIA is Mercyhurst Preparatory School. Continue reading

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Workers rights for New Americans

Are you happy with your job? Really take a moment to think about the question for a second. How often have you sat at your desk and daydreamed of something better, somewhere with just a few more windows or better dental? According to a Forbes study over half of Americans 52.3% are doing just that; they are not satisfied with what they do. Most of these American’s are White accounting for more 80 percent of the workforce, and earning approximately $55,000 a year on average.

Now take a New American and ask if he/she enjoys what they are doing. 75 percent of Janitors are native born. 65 percent of grounds maintenance workers are native-born. 65 percent of construction laborers are native born. 56 percent of maids and housekeepers are native born. Most New Americans aren’t getting an office job most are getting their hands dirty and doing the work that people that do have office jobs take for granted.

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Welcoming Migrants with Open (Fire)arms

By AARON FOSTER-WILLIAMS

The constant thought of potentially being murdered is not something most Americans think about. But beyond our borders, this paranoia runs through the minds of many. Imagine living in a city where there is a chance of being disintegrated by bombs while shopping at your local market. By the way, these bombs are bring supplied from the United States military, and the people responsible live in the country right next to you.

Now put yourself in the shoes of a citizen living south of our border who constantly lives in fear from local cartel gangs. These cartel gangs specialize in brutal killings and recently directed their anger towards authorities. Groups of police officers are being ambushed by thugs with machine guns and police helicopters are swatted out of the sky like gnats.

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Assimilation Nation Podcast: Old Songs New Opportunities.

The Assimilation Nation Podcast sits down with Kelly Armor the Director of Education and Folk Art at The Erie Art Museum to talk about the art museums Old Songs New Opportunities program and their new CD project Simba La La.

To learn more about Old Songs New Opportunities visit their page on the Erie Art Museum website here.

Home in America: Pittsburgh, PA

BY TRACY GEIBEL

As a young girl growing up in Guyana, she was content watching her father make art.  She grew taller, she grew older, but she also grew in her love for art and knew at an early age that it would be a significant part of her life.

Executive director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, janera solomon has been able to share her love of the arts with the entire community.

She considers herself to be a rule-follower, but spells her name in lowercase as a form of rebellion, a safe form of rebellion.  She began writing it that way in elementary school and has been doing so ever since.

solomon came to America when she was nine years old.  Her father worried about the country’s future, but more so about his four daughters and their futures.  solomon explained that Prime Minister Ptolemy A. Reid had become progressively more conservative, worrying artists and intellectuals alike.  More so, the country’s economic crisis was lowering the living standard.  Like other countries in the Caribbean region, Guyana struggled because its most common exports yielded low income.  Continue reading

Dilli’s Story: The Journey Of A Bhutanese Refugee

December 2011 was the first time Dilli Timsina ever saw snow in his life. It was just shortly after his arrival to the United States that November. Dilli spent the previous 19 years in a refugee camp in Nepal.

“I am from Bhutan, so I am a Bhutanese refugee,” he said. “The government and the people had different views, and the people started to ask for democracy and human rights in the country, but the government was trying to rule the country. There was a king and the king thought that the people might take over, so in that fear the king started kicking people out the country. He started kicking people out in 1988. From 1988 to 1993 almost 100,000 Bhutanese left the country and went to Nepal.”

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#ActToChange

Although the assimilation of the new Americans into the United States brings challenges especially for students, these problems aren’t being ignored. The White House has implemented an anti-bullying campaign to help Asian Americans specifically who are suffering from bullying in their schools in the United States.

The White House is taking a stand against bullying of all types of people, but the Act to Change campaign wants to make it clear that Asian immigrants face a special set of problems that are often overlooked but deserve recognition and action taken to protect and fix this aggressive behavior. Many misconceptions and stereotypes fuel these types of bullying. Other organizations have teamed up with the Act to Change campaign, such as the Sikh Coalition. In addition to the Asian American population particularly being targeted for bullying, Sikh children also face major bullying issues. The Sikh Coalition website states that 67% of Sikh children face bullying in schools; an astounding number. Bullying of this population has even been referred to as an “epidemic.” This organization also makes the point that targeting this type of bullying doesn’t even start with dealing with the bullies themselves, but instead giving those dealing with the bullies the tools to defend themselves and seek help.

This campaign launched in October if 2015 with hopes to raise awareness to the violence. Their goal is to reach out to not only the students but also the faculty and parents of these children with the hopes to “report, stop and prevent bullying.” “Act to Change” encourages students to speak out against bullying and violence they or their peers may be experiencing, believing that it only takes one person to make a difference for the victims of bullying. This issue is a big problem, but with the right resources the White House believes it can be solved and students can be protected.

“Act to Change” gives the opportunity to “take the pledge” to not bully and not let other be bullied. This campaign understands that there are many factors that get in the way of children being able to seek help from adults. Not only is this campaign designed to empower students who need help, but also teachers, parents and other students in these schools to take a stand and make the right choice when they are put in a situation where they are prompted to make the choice to help someone in need.

Facts about bullying in schools are alarming. One out of every five students, on average, faces some sort of bullying. Additionally, the campaign urges students to talk about their experiences, further enforcing the fact that it’s okay to talk about it and to make it known that nobody is alone in their fight against bullying.

In November of 2015, the campaign held an event in Los Angeles. Over 200 people attended. Attendees ranged from artists to community leaders to young people who are facing these issues. This event was held to continue to help with the empowerment of these victims and let them hear stories from even the most distinguished professionals who faced similar circumstances growing up, or even as adults, and to make it known to all the bullied students that it’s not okay to feel harassed, especially because of their race or religion, and in fear of going back to school or work or wherever it is where they feel victimized. There were also testimonials of those who strive to bring intervention to the bullies themselves, who are clearly facing a completely different set of personal obstacles that drive them to have the desire to hurt others, either verbally, physically or both.

This event created an atmosphere of safety and community, reminding everyone that this is a huge issue in America as the country is seeing more and more immigrants from all around the world coming into our communities and school systems. It was created to be celebratory of each person’s uniqueness and that being different is a good thing, nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed of.

There are also legal teams that can be contacted if a student feels bullied or if someone sees or knows of a fellow student being bullied. Bullying is “an act of exerting aggressive, abusive behavior upon others with the intent of causing them mental, emotional or physical harm.” Because all the actions that are defined as bullying  consist of a wide range of name calling to assault with weapons, not every child understands when he or she is being bullied. If any action is being brought upon that harms someone in any way, shape or form then something needs to be done about it.

The Impact Of The Multicultural Community Recourse Center

The United States over the years has become a great place for refugees to resettle to and call home. Our country welcomes them with wide-open arms in hope that they find safety and comfort here. The goal of the United States is to assist as many people are possible with the resources we have available to us.

Of the 10 countries that carry out resettlement programs, the United States accepts more than double the number of refugees accepted by the other nine countries combined, resettling approximately 2.5 million people since 1975. Continue reading

Education for New Americans

There are many new Americans in the city of Erie. What differs from person to person is how they adapt to coming from a different country to the United States. It differs because of home life and education. Some people have more education and opportunities than others, which is a problem when discussing new Americans.

Sai works at Sam’s Club. Her and her family are new Americans who have been living in the U.S. for about nine years. Education is key in every aspect of life. It starts with language barriers that new Americans potentially face. However, Sai claimed that the language was not a big barrier at all. Essentially, you could put the blame on their education system back home. She said that there was no language barrier due to the fact that her and her family studied English in India. Sai was very adamant on saying that education and profession made it much, much easier to adapt to life here in the states.  Continue reading