Head of School
Suzanna Jemsby has been the Head of School for the Galloway School in Atlanta, Georgia since July 2012. Since her arrival, Galloway has thrived in every way. The school is at full enrollment with a long waiting list, annual giving is at an all time high, and there is an excitement about the bold new strategic direction embodied in the school's unique instructional delivery model called 4D Learning. Click here to read more.
Real issues of the undocumented
Yesterday, we hosted local author and Emory faculty member Marie Marquardt here at the school to discuss her recent novel "Dream Things True". Our UL librarian, in her typical generous way, offered to buy anyone a copy of the novel and asked them to come and meet the author. Now, I can't deny that I enjoy a free book, but it was particularly enjoyable because of the conversation that ensued with students and my peers.
An undocumented Mexican high schooler is the protagonist of the book. She falls in love with a boy who is passionate about trying to solve her issues, but who is poorly educated on the issues, as, I imagine, are most readers. Particularly poignant for me was the setting - a sleepy town in North Georgia, with a robust chicken industry highly dependent on undocumented labour.
The author spoke very candidly about her experiences in working with undocumented people. Her stories resonated with our students, many of whom (as part of their UL Excursion) had visited the very immigration detention centre mentioned in the book. What is particularly hard hitting for me is the notion that Alma, the main character, is at the mercy of decisions made by her parents who were trying to provide a better life for her. She doesn't have an obvious path to college; she can't apply for a driving license. She witnesses first hand the treatment of undocumented people by the police and experiences, at the same time, how the same entities treat her when she is mistakenly viewed as having legal status.
I have been fortunate to live and work in many countries and have been able to do so without fear of persecution by law. Quite simply, I have had the documentation on hand to legalise my travels and employment. Have you ever considered what it might feel like to fear every police siren? To worry about whether your family will be deported at any point? To see the decimation of your community when close friends are imprisoned?
I'm not suggesting that there's an easy fix, of course... You only need to watch a presidential debate to see how hot the issues are. However, I feel we can all do more when it comes to understanding the complexities around immigration and the very human stories that lie behind each case. Learn more about what is at stake, find ways to get involved!
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