Quad-Citians can learn more about the impact immigration policies and detention have on real families and ways they can advocate for social justice at the Feb. 20 panel discussion, "Justice and Immigration: Catholic Responses to Detention" at St. Ambrose University (SAU).
The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Rogalski Center Ballroom. It is free and open to the public.
• Dr. Kristy Nabhan-Warren, Elizabeth Kahl Figge Fellow in Catholic Studies at the University of Iowa. She recently traveled to the US-Mexico border to meet with asylum seekers, border patrol agents, and Catholic advocates with the Kino Border Institute.
• Yolanda Rivera, an attorney from Coralville, Iowa, who has spent time inside immigration detention centers. She has witnessed the living conditions and can share the perspective of immigrants and families.
• Kent Ferris, director of Social Action & Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Davenport and his assistant, Esmeralda Guerrero. They assist undocumented immigrants in the family reunification process.
Topics to be discussed include family separation and detention; the challenges immigrants face at the US-Mexico border; possible solutions; and ways to get involved in advocacy here and across the world.
"This panel discussion will give a face to the story," said Katy Strzepek, director of the Women and Gender Studies program at SAU, adding that personalizing immigration is important. "You have to learn the stories to learn how to advocate in solidarity with people."
The Quad Cities has been a center of relocation for immigrants for many years and those efforts have been strongly supported by the Diocese of Davenport.
"The Diocese is very committed to this issue and we want to educate people on the effect of immigration policies on families and share what the community response has been," Strzepek said.
The event is sponsored by the Kokjohn Endowment for Catholic Peace and Justice, which was established to support scholarship and activism.