Cabrini Day theme focuses on immigration

By Other Staff
November 9, 2000

Justine DiFilippo

Getting along: A Live Musical Performance and Video
by Toccara Buckley

There are ways to cope with a crisis without using violence. That was the concept behind the live musical performance and film presented by Key Arts.

Joe Patterson, orator for Key Arts, presented a film that was created from conversations given by peer mediators from the Philadelphia schools who are dealing with violence: techniques to avoid it, what it is, and why it usually gets started.

At the opening of the presentation, Patterson said, “Fighting is senseless, and nobody ever wins.”

This statement introduced the remarks from the peer mediators about their resolutions for avoiding violence and the harmony of the Key Arts duet.

Techniques given by the mediators for avoiding violence include clarifying the problem, staying cool and not letting your emotions guide your decision. Listen to what the other party has to say. Negotiate an agreement, and compromise. Most importantly, if all else fails, walk away.

Coming from Bosnia to Cabrini College
by Colleen Connor

How would you feel if your country were in a war, if you were forced to make a decision that could affect your entire life?

These are the pressures that Sejla Hasic-Stamps, the director of residence life here at Cabrini, faced in Bosnia eight years ago. Sejla was born in Bosnia and grew up there until the war began. She had to make an important decision of whether she wanted to stay in Bosnia or escape the war and move to another country that was safer. Sejla put her life at risk and decided to escape Bosnia. She did not want to be a victim anymore.

Sejla spoke about her experiences in Bosnia in the time of the war. The war began because Bosnia had gained independence from Yugoslavia. When it began, she was on a bus in 1992. For the next couple of months, Sejla witnessed many tragic events. She witnessed death, crime and violence. Sejla did not want to live in fear any longer, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. She, her sister and niece ran away. They first went to Croatia, where they stayed for a year. Then the Serbs attacked Croatia, so they ventured on, once again, to Italy. They no longer wanted to be in the ex-Yugoslavic territories in fear of the war following them. So, they stayed in Italy for a few years.

Sejla did not want to stay in Italy, however. She wanted to move to the United States. She went to the U.S. embassy in Italy and asked permission to go to the United States. Sejla did not receive the support from the U.S. embassy in Italy. It was not until Cabrini College got involved to help Sejla that she received her visa to visit the United States and receive a college degree at Cabrini College.

People at Cabrini helped Sejla in so many ways. They offered her a college education, they assisted her in getting the permission to move to the United States and they supported Sejla in her rough transition period after she moved. Sejla believes that Cabrini College has given her the conclusion that the United States truly is a great country.

The Immigration Game
by Kim Gormley

There are now more people trying to immigrate to the United States than at any time in history. More than 3.6 million applications for residency were filed last year alone, but few realize the odyssey of paperwork and red tape that today’s immigrants face.

Linda Collier, in her lecture entitled “Coming to the United States: Immigration Through Sponsorship,” made this difficult process into a board game and invited students to play.

The game simulated immigration for those who already have a resident “sponsor” (a family member or employer willing to attest that they will be gainfully employed and not a drain on social services), but the student players quickly found out that even with the advantage of a sponsor, getting permission to live in the United States is a long, expensive and often futile undertaking. In fact, none of the players succeeded, often going broke because every time their petition was rejected, they had to pay the $500 fee again before re-petitioning.

Collier explained that authorities make the process “deliberately discriminatory” to limit the number of immigrants coming into the country. Little wonder, then, that of those 3.6 million applications, only 414,000 (12 percent) were accepted.

Bridging the Cultural Divide
by Katie Hernson

Many students wonder what the Cabrini Mission Corps really is. It an actual missionary group founded in Mother Cabrini’s spirit, not just an office behind the cafeteria.

One Cabrini Mission Corps volunteer spoke. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh last May, Lisa Grzyboski decided to join the mission as a volunteer. She had originally wanted to travel to South America for her service, but the Corps directors thought her best placement would be in New York City assisting immigrants.

The Mission Corps offers many services to immigrants such as English as a second language, finding public housing and other work. Grzyboski teaches an ESL class. She finds the work very rewarding. She met an older Chinese woman who had lived in the United States for 30 years before finally taking English lessons. After only two months, she is able to converse with most Americans.

Grzyboski said, “I think it’s the people I meet that will make my mission experience.” So far she hasn’t been wrong.

Detention of Immigrants in American Prisons
by Carly Juno

Imagine being so scared that you cannot even speak and your fate is in the hands of an airport attendant. This is what happens to refugees trying to get into the United States.

Dr. William Westerman works with some of these refugees at Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey. He first started working as a volunteer with refugees when he was a grad student at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I learned just as much working with the refugees as I did in the classroom,” Westerman said. “Up to the 1990’s, refugees were allowed to stay in our country. But that changed in 1996 when Congress passed a new immigration law. Refugees have no rights, and if they have no VISA or passport, then they will be held in a detention center until they can prove their identity or their case is decided.”

Of the two million people in American prisons, twenty thousand of them are refugees.

Learning From the Hunger Project
by Rich Magda

The “Hunger Project” provides a chance for students enrolled in the nutrition course to venture beyond their normal views of the world and to delve into the hunger and poverty stricken areas of Philadelphia and surrounding localities.

Selected to speak on behalf of the class, Nyetta Pendleton, Rene

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