The Gustavian Weekly

LALACS event addresses migration issues in the U.S. | The Gustavian Weekly

By Jack Wiessenberger - Staff Writer | November 9, 2018 | News

The Latin American, Latina/o, and Caribbean Studies program is hosting an informative event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on November 14 in Confer Hall room 127. The event will present on the current issue of migration in the Americas.

The group, also known by their acronym “LALACS,” is directed by Associate Professor Ana Adams.

Adams teaches courses in Modern Languages, Literature, and Cultures along with Spanish.

“The Latin American, Latina/o, and Caribbean Studies (LALACS) Program at Gustavus gives students the opportunity to study the Americas across a wide spectrum of the humanities and the social sciences. Students learn about Latin American culture and history, study abroad, and serve others while preparing to work and live in our diverse global community,” Adams said.

The group is highly involved in the community both on campus and off.

“LALACS students have traveled to Petátlan, Mexico (sister city to Saint Peter) as members of a city-college delegation,” the LALACS Gustavus webpage said.

Students in the program also participate in activities in St. Peter.

“St. Peter has a large Hispanic population. LALACS students tutor in schools, translate at parent-teacher conferences, and participate in language-exchanges that deepen the bond between college and community,” the webpage said.

Of course, the group is involved in events on campus such as the upcoming talk on migration.

“Every year LALACS organizes events related to the cultures of Latin America.  We organize lectures like ‘Indigenous Latinx: Maya migration to Los Angeles’ by Professor Bianet Castellanos, ‘Asking for the impossible’ by Azriel Bibliowicz, ‘The Cultural Agencies of Mexican Graphic Narrative’ by Professor Bruce Campbell, or ‘Drugs, Guns, and US Policies in Mexico’ by human rights activist Francisco Cerezo, to name a few. We also sponsor cultural events such as Day of the Dead Celebration, Brazilian Carnival, Hispanic Heritage Month, among many other initiatives,” Adams said.

The upcoming lecture on the migration caravan from Central America is going beyond just LALACS.

Many other groups based both on and off campus are getting involved.

“To learn the basics of Central American migration to the US, the event will use as framing the recent documentary ‘Separated: Children at the Border,” Adams said.

The documentary, made by PBS, focuses on modern experiences of children who have been separated from their families at the U.S – Mexico border.

“Then we will have a panel of faculty and community members react and provide perspectives. The panel is composed of Professor Scott Ickes, Professor Maddalena Marinari, Professor Suzanne Wilson, Nancy Altmann, Brian Mayén from Minnesota Council of Churches in Mankato, and Francisco Segovia of Comunidades Organizando el Poder y la Acción Latina (COPAL),” Adams said.

The professors on the panel come from diverse fields including history, gender studies, sexuality studies, sociology, and of course LALACS.

Council of Churches is a group that helps to take care of refugees in the United States.

The lecture is covering a hot topic and is anticipated to be a highly attended one.

“We expect a good turn out of students from different departments. This is a very hot topic of interest to students in many disciplines across campus,” Adams said.

“I am interning with Minnesota Council of Churches – Refugee Services in Mankato. I am a triple major in Spanish, Political Science, and LALACS and all three have helped me be more informed about the issues of the past and present and what sort of things we can do in the future,” Gustavus senior Brian Mayén said.

Mayén is highly involved with topics relating to this.

“I connect to this issue because the current administration has capped the number of refugees the US can allow, so seeing how the arrival of the caravan unfolds will be something one should definitely pay attention to as it affects us all,” Mayén said.

The Trump administration has already ordered the U.S military be sent to the border to meet the crowd of migrants.

“They aren’t criminals, they are people who are running away from extreme poverty, violence, and other horrendous conditions in their home country. We should welcome them, not turn them away. It’s a long and dangerous journey for them and their children. I respect them for that,” Mayén said.

The caravan has been moving across Central America and Mexico for weeks now.

“There is a lot of fear and confusion around the caravan of Central American refugees walking towards the UnitexdStates. Having an education on this topic is key to counteract the manipulation happening in the media right now,” Adams said.

The lecture being put together for November 14 will be aimed at informing attendees of the issue–without media manipulation.

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