Immigration Story Slam: Uplifting Stories of Immigration

It is important to the community to accept immigrants and our undocumented community. We have a fear to talk and to share our stories but with your help, we can make it. We need to work on our laws to legally support immigrants and to help support changing our status. Step Up New London will have programs that serve the many different immigrants of America (not just Spanish speaking) that can participate and connect with each other. We need our community’s support through donations to purchase translation devices in order to reduce our language barriers and deepen our connections.
— Lizbeth Polo-Smith, Community Leader & Participant
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A special thank you to Emma Race and Connecticut College, Hispanic Alliance, IASC, Carlos Canales, Lizbeth Polo-Smith, Marleny Bencosme, Delia, Ella, Jennifer, Richard, and Javier. Additional thanks to our families, friends, and community members who showed unwavering support and encouragement in our movement towards social justice and liberation.

Story-telling has such a powerful impact and captures the experiences and histories a person and group of peoples embody. The connections that are made and the insight we gain through story-telling is powerful. April 20th, participants of Step Up New London's story-telling workshop series shared their stories of immigration during an Immigration Story Slam. This was a bi-lingual event and was free for everyone. Each story-teller brought different experiences however where connected through the journey of coming to America seeking a happy and prosperous life. The stories we heard highlights the struggles immigrant communities face truly brought the humanity into the conversation immigration and the need to actively support immigrant rights. 

This opportunity was brought to us by Emma Race, a Connecticut College student, who approached Step Up New London seeking support for her senior project. Emma's hope was to support social justice organizing taking place in New London while still making sure the community impacted would be leading. During the 2-month workshop series, Carlos Canales, a college professor at Three Rivers Community College who himself immigrated to the U.S, facilitated and supported the personal development of participants in crafting and sharing stories. In addition to the Immigration Story Slam, the stories were published into a book titled, Voices Without Borders. This book can be purchased through Step Up New London where all proceeds specifically go back into this workshop series.  

StepUp’s storytelling workshop series was the most tangible experience I’ve had of building community since arriving in New London four years ago. Remembering and then sharing one’s personal experiences can be painful and traumatic, and through this most vulnerable moment we came together. I feel so lucky to have been accepted in this group and able to learn and grow with everyone as an organizer. I can see the personal difference this program has made in the individual participants’ lives, and the difference it has made in us as a collective. I can’t wait to see where they all go with their stories and who else’s voice can be lifted up.
— Emma Race, Conn College Student