Welcoming The Other

Good evening the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal
Church in Charleston South Carolina the mosques in Christ Church News in New Zealand we’ve
had far too many reminders of the urgent need to overcome our differences and build connections
and understanding and what happens when we don’t bridge these gaps indeed there have
been a devastating number of incidents that highlight the intolerance driving a wedge
into our communities and into our collective consciousness we’re here this evening to examine
our shared history who we are and the values the must guide us as we work to bring together
the many parts of our community using the national motto E Pluribus Unum as our guide
will hear from distinguished leaders who represent diverse cross sections of our community my
name is Aaron Kaufman and the executive director of the Hillel foundation here at Penn State
my role this evening is to be the moderator of the I hope our panelists introductory remarks
will lead to a deep and robust conversation with all of us participating and their microphones
at the front and side of the room for you to ask questions after their opening statements
thank you for coming this evening and thank you our panelists for sharing your perspectives
with us please introduce yourselves as you share your thoughts on our framing question
Dr Barron will be honored for you to make the 1st rounds. And you hear me OK back there that works well
1st of all I I want to make sure that I thank the organizers the Penn State law immigrant
rights clinics and Penn State Hillel and Penn State Latina Latino studies for organizing
this event and and thank you all for for participating so I I had the remarkable experience of growing
up during the civil rights movement. And at that time you felt like you were a
powerful part of change you had moral issues on your side in treating other people like
fellow humans and you felt that those that were decision makers to believe a court system
were on your side and so this gave you this sense of of power and it seemed to me as a
teenager during this period of time that you could literally see the landscape of this
country changing right before your eyes not I will tell you or I would have told you that
we changed minds that it became something unacceptable to. To say and do some of the things that were
occurring in the fifty’s and sixty’s now my son would tell me No Dad you did not change
minds you submerged you submerged a lot of people’s feelings you didn’t make it seem
unacceptable to have those feelings but they were still there. Well I also came to the conclusion that diversity
was the key this is the key to success because just as soon as you have the opportunity to
experience someone to see someone else an action no matter what they look like and who
they were as soon as you had that opportunity to have that experience your biases would
start to slip away and that this was the key and so and this became part of the objective
and and I do think in a lot of ways there were so many changes that occurred well just
think of the fact that conversation switched to topics like implicit bias a 1000 paper
cuts or microaggression. That wasn’t the conversation of the sixty’s
when you were looking at how this civil rights movement was emerging and changing that was
a suggestion that we started to become concerned that if a fire men took off their uniform
and you realized all of a sudden that it was a woman and that it was unexpected and you
were thinking consciously about how it is that I was acting towards a uniform and a
bias that I grew up with that firemen were men and they aren’t necessarily so so this
must be some sign of progress when that becomes the conversation and that becomes what your
thought processes so I don’t know what happened shooting in a synagogue or shooting in a mosque
a shooting in a. African-American Christian church shooting
in an Amish schoolhouse thinking that countries should be banned Charlottesville the list
is rather long just the notion that now you can see signs being posted on campuses all
across this country all at the same time that basically say you need out you need to out
that dream or you need out of that immigrant or something that is focused on religion or
color or country and really this landscape has changed rather dramatically once again
and I think that’s the basis of my son’s argument to me that that know in you felt power of
that movement but use of merge the lot of the issues and there are other reasons why
issues are emerging again in my mind this is the reason why it becomes so incredibly
important. To do what is the title of this particular
out panel to be sending that message constantly particularly I think all the time about Penn
State but at Penn State to be sending that message constantly that there’s not a single
person on our campus that didn’t earn the right to be there and therefore the 1st thing
you should think about when you see someone walking on our campus is that must be an interesting
person that must be somebody with high value. That must be somebody that I really want to
get to know and to take advantage of that opportunity and then maybe we do cross that
boundary where it begins to slip away because we realize just how human everybody else is
but this is an incredible challenge today and and so far. Nothing that we’ve done is solving that problem
we’re we’re swimming upstream right now so thank you incredibly important to welcome
the other. As with most systems of philosophy or culture or religion there are many different
voices and when you have a tradition that goes back some 4000 years a very verbal and
vocal tradition and written tradition for 4000 years of lots of different voices but
we can go back to the Bible to see the basic approaches the basic principles with which
Judaism approaches this question of welcoming the other and they deal with 22 particular
goals or 2 particular principles one is that there is a special affinity that members of
the tribe Jewish people have for each other there’s a special relationship and the Jews
are told we have with God the whole Chosen People idea but on the other hand there’s
an idea that God created everybody and everybody in the world is a child of God And so you
have to balance these 2 ideas there are some people who took the Chosen People idea as
a kind of excuse for Zina phobia or feeling of snobbishness and 700 years before the Common
Era of the prophet Amos addressed this and said Oh No no no the Lord says you are no
better to me than the children of Ethiopians ho true I did take the Israelites out of Egypt
but I also brought the Philistines out of Catherine also but the Arameans out of here
so that you have this idea that that what God may have a special relationship with one
group of people but also has special relationships other people’s and in many ways you could
almost say which is my favorite finger or maybe more to the point which is my favorite
child you know I love all 3 much else children 100 percent I didn’t understand this until
I had children but I love each 100 percent and I think this is the idea that God loves
everyone though God made a particular task a particular relationship individual issues
with one group of people so you have these 2 different voices that speak out in Jewish
tradition and the dominant idea about what about the other comes twice in a section in
the Book of Exodus shortly after the 10 commandments were 2 times in a matter of maybe 20 verses
or so you have the statement you shall not oppress the stranger. You shall not oppress the stranger one of
them even get psychological and says You shall not oppress the stranger for you know the
heart of the stranger seeing that you were strangers in the land of Egypt and this speaks
to the idea of being a resident alien or being a visitor or an immigrant but also speaks
the idea of someone who is a strange To any way whatsoever and does even going you know
as far back as the Book of Exodus you have this idea of people who are restrained for
a variety of reasons Nowadays we talk about all the different people who are strange or
estranged you know people with physical disabilities people of different gender identity people
from different ethnic ethnic backgrounds or things like this but every amount of strangeness
is not to be an impediment to words someone being welcomed into the community and this
is a principle this is a principle that Judaism teaches and in our best moments we live up
to it and in our less good moments we do not live up to it but these are the principles
that we’re not supposed to oppress a stranger because we understand what it is like to be
oppressed you’re supposed to take that or that lesson that we’ve learned from our own
feelings of of aloneness or of being picked on to take that as a way not to cause someone
else to have that same kind of pain so that’s the basic philosophical position and whenever
you have any individual question addressed to Jewish sources philosophers or legals it’s
legal or thinkers they always are dressing know what may be the special role that we
have for one particular group and how would that affect other people who are not part
of that special group who are also considered children of God and citizens of the area or
to be accepted in the general community so just for instance in terms of the commandments
this will be my final example in it in terms of the Commandments we’re told that there
are $613.00 commandments I think the 10 were enough but they’re actually another 603 so
613 Commandments in Jewish tradition that God gave the Jewish people and the Jewish
people are responsible for all 613. The Gentiles are only responsible for 7 of
those you know so the idea is that God knows everybody but there are certain rules or certain
assignments for some people but everyone is expected to follow certain basic rules of
decency and we are to be accorded the same kind of respect for everyone so we have this
I think different voices speaking but the basic principle is that everyone should be
welcomed as a human being as a child of God And that’s that’s the aspiration for our culture
and our religion Thank you. I everybody thank you very much for coming
My name is Andrew Sum of All Strauss I’m an associate professor of history and the director
of the Latina studies program history never repeats itself so wrote Mark Twain in the
$274.00 instead he explained the past often comes to us as shattered pieces of previous
elections as a historian of the United States when looking around and thinking about the
immigration controversies of today controversies over national identity over belonging over
exclusion I tend to want to go for the clearest most parallel example in the nation’s history
and as it turns out that happened almost exactly 100 years ago. In the late 1900 that early 1920 S. the United
States had become the destination for about 20000000 immigrants most of them from central
southern and eastern Europe just over the past over the previous 40 years and they drove
the percentage of the United States population it was foreign born to an all time high of
14 percent and it was their labor that made it possible for the U.S. to become the leading
industrial juggernaut in the world that said their arrival also caused a. Panic reaction by the Anglo Protestant majority
that was sort of the main demographic group in the United States at the time they feared
that the arrival of so many people who seem so very different from them especially because
so many of them were Catholics so many of them were Jewish they feed of that would somehow
dilute or in fact or otherwise harm national unity or national identity and in response
they move toward restricting immigration they began to propose and pass a series of acts
that concluded in the $924.00 national origins Act which dramatically reduced the number
of people permitted to come in to the United States as immigrants it’s actually the 1st
substantial limitation of European immigration to give you a sense of the spirit that was
behind this particular law let me just read one of its main supporters statement before
the House of Representatives he promised that the law would as he said Keep the United States
quoth the home of a great people English speaking a white race with great ideals the Christian
religion one race one country one destiny at that point was interrupted by applause
from his fellow congressman when the applause died down he continued He said the African
the Orientals the Mongolians and all the yellow races of Europe Asia and Africa should never
have been allowed to people this great land it’s worth noting that that was not the only
law or kind of law that was passed at the time at the state level there were a series
of laws for example attempting to outlaw Catholic schools prohibiting the teaching of German
and other modern languages to young people outlawing marriage between people who are
white and those who are considered not white and sterilizing the unfit or in some cases
racially other in voluntarily and without notification In other words this was a really
awful period in American history one in which racist ideas were promulgated not just on
the street or in people’s homes but. By the most powerful people in the nation’s
capital and in universities at a time when the Ku Klux Klan revived and controlled a
number of state governments including Illinois Oregon and Colorado in which was widespread
racial violence lynchings of black people and of Mexican Americans on the border all
with full throated popular support of a majority of anti immigrant citizens indeed it was emblematic
of the sort of get a sense of the kind of period this was that a few years later the
Nazis explicitly said that when they created their Norberg racial laws they had been inspired
by the laws of the United States so 100 years later we find ourselves in some respects in
a similar position though spoiler alert I’m a suggest the contrast are even greater currently
over the past 50 years about 59000000 immigrants have arrived in the United States primarily
from Latin America and Asia they’ve driven the percentage of the foreign born in our
population up to 13 percent and the United States is still the most important most powerful
economy in the world but we also have voices loud and rockets saying that we have to bar
the gates we have executive orders banning entire nations coming here from as a proxy
for an obvious religious distinction we have efforts to turn away refugees but where immigration
restriction 100 years ago had broad popular support. Outside parts of Washington is actually an
unmistakeable of minority opinion it’s noticeable that there was no move for 2 years after the
White House proposed that legal immigration be slashed by 40 percent no actual move to
enact that by Congress no interest there was no congressional appreciate appropriation
to build a wall a couple of weeks ago and about a 5th of the Republican delegation to
the Senate simply. Voted against their president indeed you also
have a series of losses for political campaigns based on xenophobia everywhere from the governorship
of Virginia to the 18th Congressional District here in Pennsylvania to the midterms just
a few months ago campaigns that have raised in a phobia mostly lost and finally there’s
a great deal of polling by especially Gallup in pew that suggests unprecedented support
for immigration whether you ask it in the form of his immigration been good for United
States should we have less more or about the same level of aggression you have really large
majorities sort of in the 60 to 80 percent range depending on what you’re asking saying
yes that sort of move people on the path of legality to broadening refugee admissions
rather than narrowing them considering the nature of the rhetoric over the past 2 or
3 or 4 years it’s really noticeable that it seems to have had well an effect on a smaller
number of people but not on the broad population perhaps is because people that are people
understand that the United States depends on immigrants to sustain our institutions
our population and that indeed. People here don’t make enough babies to sustain
the population and I should add that that’s not simply an American thing in every advanced
economy in the world. Lower numbers of childbearing. Lower rates of childbearing has become the
norm so when people sort of try to bring up the idea there’s some tremendous crisis from
the standpoint of the historian I want to say you know the increase of the national
population has been a little over one percent for the past 50 years if you go back a 100
years it’s eggs almost exactly one percent the long term trends have largely not changed
and so in conclusion I think that it’s precisely for these reasons that those who seem to hate
the other lie and incite violence the fact is the truth is not what they want to be the
demographics are not what they want them to be and so they go people into hurting and
even killing their fellow human beings. Precisely because most people pay no pay them
no attention it is to be sure horrifying for the families of those killed or the community
members of those who have been threatened or killed there’s nothing I can say tonight
that says you have everything’s going to be fine don’t be afraid but at the same time
I think we should make no mistake but behind the escalation of violence including deadly
violence is the fact that Senate vote was pretty clearly understand they have lost the
argument THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. For a Good evening my name is show boss of
a person. I teach immigration and refugee law here at the law school I am so honored
that you have chosen to spend the evening with us tonight. The year was 1973 my parents
tied the knot in India they landed in Connecticut where my dad practiced medicine and my mom
worked as a substitute teacher at High School she entered as the spouse of a green card
holder the same year they got married my parents moved to Dayton Ohio 2 years later where I
was born and my father took a job as a lead physician at the V.A. and my mom would go
on to get a computer science degree she was a pioneer before women and that stem was even
a thing they were welcomed in America and they saw passed a number of barriers and a
short memory I have is a child is watching my mother wake up before the sun rose and
changed to a business suit be out the door before 9 be back in after 5 wear a sari or
something comfortable she played many roles each day born in America and raised by Indian
immigrant parents in Dayton Ohio this story resembles so many immigration stories in communities
across America and in State College some migration stories and journeys are more complex arduous
and sometimes triggered by the need to survive over the last 20 years I have listened to
or represented many people mothers children scientists cooks refugees from around the
world. Some flew and landed in a U.S. airport with
a passport and a Visa others walked swim and arrived at the border without papers some
were immediately detained upon arrival these experiences had a profound effect and continue
to on how I think about inclusion the accident of birth place and circumstance America’s
relationship with immigration has always been complicated we are a nation of immigrants
but the history and the reality is that people can be excluded those who have built roots
here can be deported and others can be labelled in sometimes inaccurate and dehumanizing ways
the immigration policy choices made by the current administration has tested the idea
of a welcome mat in significant ways let me highlight a few the travel ban on January
27th 2017 President Trump announced the Muslim travel ban our 1st community forum drew more
than 250 people into overflow rooms right here in the last school the latest version
of the band has been in effect since December 27th teen and blocks are all immigrants those
seeking admission permanently and certain travelers those seeking temporary status from
Iran Libya North Korea Somalia Syria and Yemen it is one of the many compelling stories of
family separation the Supreme Court upheld this ban in June 28000 on both constitutional
and statutory grounds. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or
DACA is a policy announced by the Obama administration and has been a gateway for 800000 people who
entered the U.S. before the age of 16 are in school or graduated and meet other residents
requirements 6000 live or have lived in Pennsylvania in 2017 the former Attorney General Jeff Sessions
announced that doco would and it was revived because of some lawsuits challenging its And
a close cousin to Dhaka is called D E D or deferred enforced departure it is a remedy
that is exercised by the president to protect certain nationalities because of conditions
in a particular country it is not a form of legal status but rather a type of prosecutorial
discretion currently Liberia is the only country designated for GED But this will end in 4
days unless the court step in or the White House reinstate the policy asylum seekers
asylum is a type of protection for people in the United States who have faced persecution
or would suffer similar harm in the future because of race religion nationality political
opinion or membership in a particular social group asylum is not a loophole but a life
saving protection available for people under the law unfortunately under the current administration
the bar has been a raised for the most vulnerable and we’ve seen an equal increase of family
separation and family detention. In Foresman priorities the trumpet ministration
has made significant changes to its enforcement priorities by expanding the categories of
people who are in fact priorities and also shrinking the number who might qualify for
some type of discretion so how do I conclude I want to conclude with these 2 points 1st
members in our own community some in this room are impacted by all the policies I just
described the see even NG This serves as an important reminder that being in a college
town in central Pennsylvania does not immunize us from the human and legal impact of national
policy My 2nd point is that all of these policies are not reflected by any type of legal requirement
or mandate rather they reflect choices that were made by this administration to oysters
to exclude people in legally qualifying relationships for no other reason than country of birth
to and Dhaka to detain asylum seekers to cut refugee numbers of the lowest since the history
of the Refugee Act and to design and Foresman agenda that makes even compelling cases priorities
for removal I find this deeply concerning and believe it raises important questions
about what our immigration law and policy should look like. Welcoming in the immigration space means that
our laws should be inclusive and also recognize our shared humanity to this day and we have
a lot of work to do thank you thank you. So I want to thank again our wonderful speakers
for those. Very educational words thank you all again
so this is the part of the evening where we are going to open up the microphones are going
to turn on the table microphones for a more conversational style and responses and that’s
a wonderful opportunity to come to the front where we can all hear you and ask some questions. Oh Thank you guys for speaking a very compelling
words today so my question is for President Baron we are on the topic of welcome welcoming
the others and if you consider the demographics of Pennsylvania with the black population
being at 11.9 percent and the current Penn State population of black students being at
around 4 to 5 percent what is Penn State doing in the state of Pennsylvania to better the
academic or the the I’m to sort of even out the amount of black students to within Penn
State and the state of Pennsylvania to be more representative of the state so 1st of
all I would tell you that if we didn’t have Commonwealth campuses that had catchment areas
that was. The state what you just mentioned would be
far worse. Than it is today so. In many ways that tells us. Something much more about about
the challenge you know and state actually has gotten a lot of attention through time
to create diversity plans. To make people feel accountable. To renew those to have it
be part of the strategic thinking of the university to implement different programs. Pipeline programs let me I’m scholars today
program after program and if you step back and now look at the whole statistics for this
university over decades nothing that we have done or tried to do actually has created some
step change in terms of of the diversity of our student population. Now part of that’s because if you look that
at. The size of the population then if each year that changes to the positive slightly
and you add that with all the numbers that are out there or the number of staff you have
the number of faculty where you’re expected to to change rather slowly but but even looking
at that it is a really disconcerting that you can create program after program opportunity
after opportunity. Programs in inner city schools programs to
promote different levels of scholarship. A lot of different programs to address issues
and see it change at a glacial pace. And so I’m not so sure now fortunately through those
decades it’s slowly improving it’s going in the right direction. But I would tell you
most most people that actually look at this. As an issue are. Are at a loss to what is
the thing that you do or the groups of things that you do that can make make the kind of
difference that we’re expecting because as a University of Pennsylvania we really expect
that we should be serving the population of the stated and. And it’s not there and it’s going to slowly
so I wish and some ways we could come up with the ideas and programs that all of a sudden
would make a difference in most cases the things that we might do people busily tell
us they’re not legal Well yeah just another piece so deep to get you measured scholarships
he think it could be a part of it could be the fact that Penn State is pretty expensive
compared to other seat schools around the country. But I think yeah so unfortunately the state
of Pennsylvania as 4 of the most expensive public universities in the country and that’s
quite simply because the state of Pennsylvania ranks 48th in public support of higher education
and the other campuses that are higher than ours were not the highest in Pennsylvania
that are higher than ours are and states them are 49 and state number 50 so this certainly
does make a tremendous amount of difference but if you take many of our campuses Commonwealth
campuses. The pricing there and being a people live
at home is extremely competitive with any other university in the country and still
they don’t they reflect the catchment area but not in the way that you’ve just like they’re
still it’s an under-performance. For African-American students. Could I comment on that of minute
yeah this actually is President Barron’s all stomping ground because I was in Florida too
before I came here and. When I was in Pensacola universe West Florida
had the same problem not enough African-American students to reflect the state by percentages
but one of the problems we found there was that there was a African-American University
in Tallahassee family in Florida and in university that was a mecca for African-American culture
and if you’re a young black kid 18 years old and you can go to a place you can be part
of a 5 percent group or 80 percent group and you have a desire to be among a part of the
expression your own kind which is what a lot of ethnic groups experience I mean I talk
about that with Jewish people on the one hand we’re part of the general integrated population
on the other hand there are some specific Jewish things we want to do together and it
was very hard to compete with that you find the same thing in Atlanta where you have this
whole African-American high level cultural area and on Auburn Avenue you know Atlanta
but it’s sending them all these universities over there it’s why be part of a small minority
if you can be among people who are going to be similar to you and have similar values
and similar cultural forms and things like that so if you look at a place like this which
is a little island of the militants of Ania it’s made simply may be a matter of personal
choice and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be welcoming but there are individual choice
people will choose to be among their own tribal group whether it’s ethnic or religious or
anything else like that I mean I mean I don’t know what you think about that but I’ve noticed
just where I was before and I would think that be applicable here is Pennsylvania as
well. Just to add to that I think that’s an interesting
phenomenon because like consider a student if they were to get into a top 50 school or
60 school like Penn State and then they get into a school like that they may not be ranked
this high like why would they choose not to well in my opinion like why would you choose
not to while good use of being a majority group instead of bettering your education
level especially if you’re in specifically like a STEM field but something like that
repent is actually in the top 10 but that’s my only thesis. I’m I’m Steve Ross I’m proud to be shovel
out of his colleagues. I want to give a personal experience and a something from my scholarship
experience to comment on the title welcoming the other. My. Grandmother was an immigrant
her my her young next brother was an immigrant they close the borders with after that speech
that you read and my other great uncle spent 3 years never talked about it walking from
Poland Palestine because he couldn’t get here. And my oldest and was killed in the Holocaust
so I appreciate the what happens when you close borders and when you do not welcome
those who you perceive to be the other the other thing for my scholarship is focus on
Canadian constitutional law and trying to explain to Canadians why our remedies for
constitutional violations for those of you not to me is statute called 983 there’s class
on it that how you what happens when the government takes away your constitutional rights incredibly
difficult to win a case to the United States pretty straightforward if your facts are right
to win. These cases in Canada Canadians can’t understand
why would our repertoire would your elected representatives not want to make it easy for
your citizens to sue your government when government officials wronged them and violate
their rights and the answer is that when a Canadian thinks about the R.C.M.P. violating
the constitutional rights of a Canadian they’re thinking about themselves it could be me when
Americans think about police brutality suits they’re thinking about the other it’s not
going to be me it’s somebody else you want to make a really hard you have to prove that
the cops knew that they were demo you know violating your rights deliberately It’s very
hard and then I want to come back to the question this is of essential conversation to have
I commend everybody from doing it we shouldn’t be having it there shouldn’t be an other in
the United States it’s not just Jews who are strangers in their own land the vast majority
of them of the descendants of the daughters of or the ancestor of the daughters of American
Revolution were not of his companions they were the other that’s where they came to the
United States so this idea that there isn’t other and that there is a majority says I
think we need to question exactly why that is in the 1st place as opposed to simply thinking
that that America is you know you look at this panel who’s who is the other Everybody
here is very welcoming of the other well who on this panel is the other compared to a majority
there is no majority and if you look around this room who’s the other so I would encourage
people to sort of think about that experience and the more people think that there is no
other there is just us might help us deal with some of the problems. Thank you. Thank you panelists for being here
my name’s And Joe Peters I’m a 2nd year in the School of International Affairs I would
like to appreciate and highlight Professor wadi is upbringing as I relate I am a daughter
of immigrants my parents are from the wonderful Caribbean island of St Vincent in the granite
beings and based on my upbringing I was born in the States and my parents came up here
when they were a mom when she was 15 my dad and he was 22 and growing up in a in a neighborhood
in Brooklyn where it’s. Where to Caribbean neighborhood and then moving
to the ends of a near where I had my 1st taste of culture shock and having a how you say
informal way of saying to America and for the intentions in my family and being to to
build tension for Americans myself so how can you give input who specially young children
who are in the same predicament of having parents immigrants and transitioning to a
functioning adulthood where you acknowledge yourself as the other while also being the
other side well if the question is directed to me is open to the big question a bigger
one than the meeting we had in my office earlier this week you know some of that comes through
experience right I had a a very similar. One foot in one culture and either in the
American culture and it’s a very it’s a difficult pathway to navigate I’m looking at Mayor Hahn
because he navigated a similar. Path of in his upbringing and I think there are a lot
of people which is why I highlighted how this is this is not a new story and there are many
people who have a shared experience so I think finding people around you with a shared experience
and finding. Challenges and opportunities and identifying
them is is one way but for me personally I think time. Really plays the biggest draw
and then acquiring the knowledge in the language and the framing to apply what was murky into
something that was sound and palatable and later use in my case law as a tool to respond
think you know if you had the expectation of cultural shock would you have come. Initially when I experienced the culture shock
it was unfortunately in that way the incident where it was a lot of misconceptions between
based on my appearance and then when it’s oh I didn’t know you were so it’s seem to
have a lot of I. Can of out of confusion and. I would say it’s the reality we’re looking
in hindsight now versus my 9 year old self having an incident where of an incident of
culture shock seeing. It prepared I can see it now and ice preparing me for the outside
world outside of people that are similar to me whether they’re immigrants or similar or
if their parents are from another country. You may be the wisest person in the room to
guard her child. And her because of the experience. THANK YOU THANK YOU Hi I want to thank you
all for taking the time to be here tonight by question as to anyone on the panel. I think
that these talks unlike these panels are fantastic but I also feel like they are preaching to
the choir and I want to know what you guys think about like what are we actually supposed
to do as the choir to speak to the people that don’t agree with US has one of you mentioned
like the you know folks like aren’t winning the argument but they kind of are so I mean
given like that who is president right now and like all of the laws that you mentioned
that are that I’ve been and acted that are creating more of a sense of of another how
do we actually speak to those people and how do we actually make like policy in have action
and like actually make change and to getting those other people to welcome the other because
like we are already doing great so like these conversations are just kind of making us feel
good and like BEEN LIKE SOMEONE motivational but they’re not actually helping so like what
do we do. After you I actually think it is the question.
Because. We have many many different things within the university environment that are
designed to promote conversation that give people the opportunity to interact and to
realize what what another person is is like and what you share and what you can and at
Myer and and everything else so many of the programs or look at look at how difficult
the topic of free speech today is and yet so we’ll have a forum with legal experts and
50 people show up and they’re all 50 people that understand what free speech is all about
we have a wonderful program called World and conversation and you know I had this is an
experience for myself and I watched people that were were facilitators help people communicate
and talk about things that they probably would have been uncomfortable to talk about or wouldn’t
have broached a particular topic and then you come to the question of the people that
have come to do that are just as you said so how do I scale 82100000 students 42000
employees how how do you scale it so that the individuals who go well I don’t need that
and do I need it and how do you scale it to the individuals who wouldn’t even think that
way but have a particular assumption and M.L.K. Day We did some 600 individuals with every
single facilitator that has ever come out of world in conversation that could be at
Penn State the state and it’s $600.00. Out of an incoming freshman class at University
Park of $8000.00 and so I I really do think having that conversation there and be on the
individuals that are interested in the topic and the choir as you say is probably one of
our most difficult topics I see students who will tell me I feel comfortable about coming
to Penn State because I see people like me and then their next comment is I wonder if
we could have a space at the university so this group could be together or I’ll go to. And then 1st students that are from of particular
area of of the country and I’m there and they’re celebrating everything from culture food the
greatest athlete but came from their country and everything else but there’s nobody else
in the room except the students from that area so I think the challenge is how you promote
this conversation how is it if you get the chance to learn about somebody else and can
appreciate them as a human. When we’re all working so hard to be in our
bubbles or we don’t want to take the chance to step out. And learn something that we don’t
think you need to learn. I think it’s a huge hugely important question I mean my short
answer would be win elections. As dark and awful as the present is it could be considerably
worse and there were specific nights where I was just sitting there trembling as I thought
Oh Man what’s going to happen after this election in 2017 the G.O.P. in Virginia decided to
run explicitly nativist campaign and the logic there was if this works in Virginia a highly
educated fairly diverse state firm we’re going to get nationwide right and there was a lot
of panicking Oh Man the North was going to blow it and as it turned out he won by a pretty
substantial margin that took off the table the sense that OK People said we can’t run
explicitly xenophobe a campaign and highly educated state like Virginia maybe in a more
homogeneous place like the 18th District of Pennsylvania and for a while the G.O.P. tried
to run on tax cuts and low unemployment and that didn’t seem to move people so they moved
on to straight up xenophobia and you know people are coming across the border and they’re
going to kill you and remarkably that didn’t work right when Conor Lam won that election
was for another check off every other politician saying that OK Trump on that district by like
20 points and that campaign just seemed to fail. Then I thought OK maybe I will run it in 28
in a big industrial state now super diverse a little bit older like Pennsylvania Lou Barletta
ran explicitly anti-Semitic campaign and remarkably he lost by 12 or 13 points so that was another
sort of checkbox of OK every other politician said that seems off work even a big old industrial
state like Pennsylvania and of course in the congressional elections of 2018 about 5000000000
dollars was spent the most expensive election in history of US off year congressional elections
and as you probably noticed the G.O.P. ran a lot of anti immigrant ads there were some
that were so racist that even Fox refused to air them and they lost 40 seats more than
expected so that was rather checkoff So when I say that as awful as the present is it could
be worse when Congress became again divided there were also whole bunch of initiatives
that were just off the table that idea that I mention of the administration is a let’s
come to legal immigration by 40 percent had they rate retain control of the house that
probably would have come to a vote might even a passed now there’s just no way they’re going
to do it so again the sort of outright racists are very frustrated because they understand
that the demographics of this country are going to gradually change the hope they have
of changing things that’s why and Coulter decided for turn against the president to
she was angry that this was going to happen when elections turn out certain ways politicians
decide OK that’s not the appeal of the news and we live in a big hugely important swing
state so get out there and organize. Thank you I’d also like to comment briefly
about like ethnic groups or certain groups wanting to come together and. Them being the
only people in the room I’d like to postulate that it’s because they’re go actually feel
comfortable here I did my own pride here as well as my my masters and I mean we still
have trucks that drive around here with Confederate flags in the back window so yeah actually
that the reason that those people do want to spend time together is because they’re
not comfortable at this camp else so again I think that you’re very wives and what you
feel what you said and what what you post that these these are these this is the the
other issue that there is here isn’t we feel more comfortable like this and what universities
can do to change that will perhaps change that. Change that situation but right now this both
of these things are an incredible challenge and I don’t see a solving the problem some
Leslie climate from late end of sat. Thank you for your comments thank you. Well speaking
about elections 2 years ago I was elected the 1st Asian American there State College
and quite frankly I don’t think it would have happened but for people like you Dr Varian
who went out to March and support civil rights in the 1960 S. because I sort of the I was
curious as to what the what America looked like in the 1960 S. when you were growing
up and essentially there weren’t many. African-American Asian American congressman
there weren’t very very many Asian American African-American mayors I mean I think that
basically the work that you and Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr did I think has really
transformed the country but on to welcoming the other although I’m the stand in front
of you as an air of I don’t think here but probably over there. The reality is that I had always felt welcomed
in this town. I think that essentially it during junior high school it was a it wasn’t
a daily experience when I basically experienced some sort of racial harassment but it was
certainly every other day and I think that it was. It made for a very hostile educational environment
and essentially I recognize that quite frankly this is sort of not. I mean it’s rather. I
mean I realize that essentially it was something like 10 percent of the people who were doing
that but then again and I’m. But we’re also talking about something like Most of the people
did it is the witness it and essentially did nothing and I think that essentially I Dr
Martin Luther King’s. Quote about that the. The biggest evil was
not the vitriol of the people who hate but it’s the silence of the good people that is
that was probably the greater evil and that’s part of the reason by the way why you’re here
I mean I think that in terms of you know what you’re accomplishing I mean I think that a
lot of it has to do with subtle. Basically leading your life’s as centrally
like normal people because quite frankly I mean during the junior high during junior
high school I really did not feel like I was part of the community I just basically my.
Frequency when the harassment occurred basically the drained my spirit and I think that the
fact that people that I had developed friends later on. Many of them have become mentors many of them
don’t don’t look like me basically Gene McManus Council who was a prior council president
her health so if you stop. Many people have essentially by essentially. Being human. To
the other welcoming the other and essentially brings out the humanity. I thought brought
out the humanity in me and I think that that is probably. What is important as to why you are doing
this I think that you know after you know that it’s been a long way since junior high
school and I think the fact that I was elected mare rather overwhelmingly basically in a
in a town that is only. That is 89 percent white 80 percent 83 percent I think not Hispanic
white I mean it meant that there had to be crossover and I think that quite frankly you
always have to try and I think I thank you for. Being in this panel. Thanks but. I’m going
to take us out of Pennsylvania out of the U.S. and ask questions specifically regarding
refugees and migrants especially those that are involuntary microbes and I’m at least
partially going to push back on that we’ve overcome is in a phobia especially on an international
scale as are looking to most of the world’s largest democracy is moving to the right. Toward populist movements beginning of for
example Hungary or Brazil. How as an international community as a world leader and that has such
drastic fluctuations in leadership results and of actions do we convince people both
the common person the lay person and leaders that welcoming the other that the involuntary
migrant rate is going to increase in the coming years especially as a result of climate change
how do we make them realize that these are just people like you and I that they are other
groups because they’re not part of our media group but how do we make them welcome them
as part of the community and actually and great I mean answering the big questions of
the night so so take I’ll take a stab I think 1st it’s about finding the shared experience
and shared humanity so. If you meet someone who is vulnerable and
you learn that person’s story that sometimes can lead to caring if you learn about who
or refugee is you know theater Roosevelts that has ever so many people are sharing quotes
tonight. No one knows how much you know unless you know how much you care you paraphrasing
a little here right but you can’t get to the caring part and once you have some knowledge
I’m so so what experience I’ve seen if I were to look at refugees and asylum seekers in
central Pennsylvania is that there is a dearth of accessible and and basic information about
who is a refugee So every talk I give about immigration I start with a refugee is not
everybody and their mother and cousin and 3rd uncle right it has a very specific definition
in the law so I think acquiring knowledge and can also lead to care in terms of how
to convince world leaders some of that has to do with elections you know climate refugees
raise a really interesting question the 951 Refugee Convention does not include climate
change as part of its refugee framework so I might also. Encourage you to think about a job in the
UN right or what does it mean to actually change our refugee convention or reimagine
it who are the people that are making those choices and decisions what is the type of
of evidence and stories you might need to start that conversation or get at the finish
line. In IF I just very briefly answer you’re not
going to get everyone right. As many facts as you pile about immigration about the impossibilities
national future without it about the immigrants committing here crime some people seem very
committed to the idea that outsiders are just dangerous that said what we do know about
people who are are not persuaded by actual facts about immigration. People who are older tend to be less friendly
toward immigrants people who are more rural tend to be less prone to sort of rigors and
those with less contact with immigrants tend to be less friendly toward immigrants so I
didn’t mean to say that the problem is over but I do mean to say that the more contact
people have with them on average this is sort of sort of that there was sort of a right
after the election 2016 the sense that 0 people threatens or affected economically by immigrants
are the ones you know that turned this election with no actually knows people who live far
away from the sort of very careful literally precinct by precinct Precinct analysis saying
that the bore you experience people from elsewhere the more likely you are to be accepted not
going to work every time it’s going to take some number of years to fully come to fruition
it’s frustrating because we all thought we were kind of already there and present there
and said apparently we’re not but I do want to give you the sense that this is not some
sort of fool’s errand or Sisyphean pushing the boulder up the hill it’s a argument that
is slowly being won but admittedly slowly thanks. Good evening my name is Don job look I mean
I’m a senior European state I’m just to give the big perspective from where I’m from I’m
from being so Johnny it is rope is about as far as you can get heavily rely on farming
the natural gas companies and it’s a lot of take and believe me it needs an update when
it comes to small local businesses being able to start booming again from my perspective
when it comes to welcoming the other I think if there’s one thing I can understand is from
where I’m from and I want to and being in a pool being living it growing up in a county
where you don’t have a whole lot of options to that where you think that you’re actually
to make an impact in the world that you live in Given how much information that that we
can take in its place and not be the basic thing from for myself to understand that one
coming from learning about immigrants and refugees it’s my understanding that you can
now you guys are just coming here you’re looking for a better life and fun because you’re there
it’s a home you came and it’s just no longer going to work and for me it’s my also understanding
that I’m not just looking for a better life also looking for a meaningful job will be
happy with 2030 years down the road or so so for my question is given all that I can
take in what is in your gut and this panel’s perspective what do you guys think would be
good for those who are both natives of ph who in reality have been here since the late
teaching understood early in 1906 to find the common ground with the immigrants that
are just coming in and the modern era to find a common ground to come together to figure
out what needs to be done for the state of P.A. to be able to modernize and be able to
provide for all that with a. I find it amusing that you said we’ve been
here a long time since the late eighty’s hundreds you know back in in Cincinnati about 860 they
had to form a 2nd Jewish congregation because the German immigrants were really welcome
by the English Jewish immigrants who actually being used and then 30 years later is another
current geisha because they were Polish Jewish immigrants and their God had their own think
it’s like everybody’s neighbor going to some point in a some point they were really welcome
you know so it’s it of course remember how the Irish were hated you know and I suspect
if you would look at the people in the in the white nationalist group you know most
of them are just 2 or 3 generations from B. I hated minority immigrant group and it’s
just interesting how quickly you can become quote white and how quickly you can become
nonwhite I know Jewish people have this all the time if you look at the story of the Leo
Frank lynching back about 100 years ago in Georgia like these are perfectly well accepted
white people always said they weren’t white they were Jews you know and they were subjected
not just Leo Frank but all the Jewish people in Atlanta were under fear that they’re going
to somehow be excluded from you know from be the accepted part of the society it’s just
interesting how people can become acceptable and not become acceptable and it changes in
a couple years or sometimes a couple of moments. I mean if I could respond to the question
about Pennsylvania specifically the fact is a lot of folks are getting left behind by
the emergent economy in Pennsylvania there’s a report that came I think out of this university
that a year ago showing that from 2000 to 2016 county by county virtually all the actual
economic growth of her for the number of jobs was in Philadelphia in the 5 counties around
it right and pretty much the state college was breaking up the Center County is breaking
about even and Allegheny County Pittsburgh was making just about even the entire rest
of the state was losing opportunities so people are angry for a reason this is not some sort
of illusory thing like oh everything’s fine the trick is to make sure that anger does
not get directed in the wrong direction. And in many parts of Pennsylvania that have
gradually been depopulated of course immigrants are going to fail in that population whether
it’s cultural workers whether it’s poultry and meat processing there are a lot of jobs
that you see pretty good frankly union jobs and then in the seventy’s and eighty’s the
companies just broke the unions and suddenly what was a living wage no longer is and so
people get angry at that well the problem is these immigrants are here know the unions
were broken before they showed up in large part so it’s just trying to keep people focused
on their bigger economic transformations that are happening that are jamming people like
you understatedly and you’ve got to like start by saying is absolutely true that working
people of all backgrounds have lost out over the past 30 years and then try to move it
toward what we can do about it does not involve them that are the problem and also the victims. So there’s a line of people that I really
want to hear from so I’ll answer this question very briefly you know I think there’s a lot
of nuance in how I might in your question and also how I might answer at you know we
saw all heard the phrase immigrants are good for the economy but if you’re from a depressed
area and your family’s unemployed you don’t really care as immigrants are good for the
economy right so I think that when we talk about solutions and we are back to the place
where we’re designing modernized immigration system we should really be looking at what
that modernization looks like in high employment and low unemployment areas and I think those
should look different. And then on a much more individual level you
know I think the conversations that you have with your neighbor or your fellow students
and colleagues are going to only reveal maybe shared values shared desires right you talked
about a better life and I think that there are a lot of common threads there too. So I think with only 5 minutes left in our
advertised prime time I would ask the folks in line don’t leave one. But we might close
the one. Year depending on how long our speakers can stay but please be as brief as possible
and ask your questions. Thank you. Thank you. I’d say that. My question is directed
mostly toward President Baron and I appreciate that this conversation the top are having
now speciate you coming out for the I saw you at the Christchurch vigil last week and
I appreciate you coming on target support of the thing. But my question is how or I
guess why. Do we hold these conversations which I find
very progressive and they shed light on these popular issues but it feels like we take 2
steps back when we invite. People like Charlie Kirk right wing. Speaker public figure whatever
you have come to. Come to the university and we give him that platform to spread these
problematic messages and these messages that are not welcoming of the other so I guess
my question is I guess why do we take these 2 steps forward but then you know to have
a back up so so I I was taught and I think the Supreme Court right in there and which
Supreme Court you know you’re talking about is that we have to be able to test ideas in
the marketplace and if we can’t test ideas in the marketplace and we limit the testing
of ideas in the marketplace at what point will government turn and limit my ideas in
the marketplace. So we very carefully have drawn the line which
is to protect the safety of students and the safety of the population and decide on time
and manner for free speech but to make sure that. That that this is always a part of the
university environment we did make some changes. Not have someone walk into an auditorium and
bring a whole bunch of people with them and have an xterm will environment that basically
literally across the country has been using universities to foment dissent to make people
feel uncomfortable and literally to pick a fight so they had to be newsworthy we’ve changed
it so that. The speakers on this campus have to be invited
by a group of students a registered student group by the department by. Administrative
leaders So this is for our students and for our faculty and the other thing we’ve done
which I think is a way to make sure that people can listen. As we said students 1st so you will notice
for the speaker that you mention is that you you can go in the 1st people allowed in the
door are students with an ID and if we get to the point where it’s of all house that’s
all that’s going to make it in inside the door this enables you to listen to an idea
hopefully in a safe environment and listen to an idea to learn from it realize what you
reject why you reject it and and I think you become a much more thoughtful person in the
process and can make up your own mind because I’m I’m truly afraid that if I say no to him
the next No that will be coming is not one that you will like at all though thank you
very much. I want to thank all of you for doing this.
For the law school for happiness and for everybody showing up. I don’t know if we’re all the
choir we can’t know that for sure but even if we did expect we are the choir it’s a tonic
I think at this difficult time to come together and commune about these issues last week was
a particularly rough time in our community last Tuesday we had a candlelight vigil for
the carnage across the world Thursday we had another candlelight vigil for the killing
of a side sizing side and down the road. It’s just it it impressed upon me and I think
many people. Both the global reach. And the immediacy of the very real violence that flows
from from violent rhetoric. And I suppose in fact one of the many challenges that I
think it legitimately being put forward today is how we might build bridges between Penn
State and the broader community of state college particularly at the moment of people of color
in State College who I think are exceptional pain for over what has happened oh and just
my thank you all for being here today but I come from that a little different place
and Mr Speaker so. Many times that’s Tony and Betty and I’m a
local attorney. I’m also a D.V.D. recipient and in 4 days I will be on talking after living
in the United States for 30 years I’m. I entered the United States on of this being the South
after the civil war erupted in my home country like Syria. And I’ve lived here. Untrue different temporary
protective status T.P.S. and which Professor Wadia mentioned earlier. They gave me protection
from deportation and the ability to live here and work here for the last 30 years. So I
was able to put myself through college law school and now I work in the community as
a public interest attorney representing to Mr violence and sexual assault survivors in
family law matters. I’ve lived a law abiding life pay taxes my
target families here we will all be undocumented and forty’s. So it’s really disheartening.
We do have a lot of support last I was able to the Congress and talk about my immigration
status and there was a House of Representatives bill that was introduced called age or sex
and it’s cannot be introduced into the Senate because Mitch McConnell will not introduce
it for it to be voted on and that is my only way to stay here unless we can get the president
to changes. His mind and so I just ask you guys if you
can call your representatives and ask for some repeat for us there’s about 4000 of us
who slipped or are about 30 years and so I am the face of immigrant and immigrant right
now so I just want to thank you for giving me the room to talk to so THANK YOU THANK
YOU Iran. I Phone is a you all again for coming to him
today and really really question. I was wondering given for anyone how do you all feel that
we can work within our own communities to help change their mind not think about leveling
the other as much as I do in people. Like this how can we work within our own communities
to change so they can go out into other communities in the sector even for a change if I can add
one small event on to Stacey’s comment what is one thing each of us can walk out of the
stream and I think the 1st thing you can do is treat people like humans and you know I
I think 20 years ago we started down a path of wedge politics and it’s coming to roost
and the wedges got broader and broader and deeper and that’s what we’re witnessing and
maybe the election will swing the other way which would which would be nice and there
were some promising signs there but I think that it worked for a long period of time to
create. This wedge and we’re living in we have to
we have to be wed to deal which the politics that are there and the issues and I think
part of it is by using our own rights and free speech to. To do the opposite so to small
thing that you can do after today is 1st to me the other right how many of you have met
with the stony a who’s such a hell are in our community meet with somebody who story
you may not know. Who is a part of your own community and 2nd
pay attention to the terminology. Anneli and illegal illegal immigrant illegal Erin these
are entering eating terms I mean one simple thing we can all do is make sure that we’re
using inclusive language whether we’re teaching a class whether we’re talking to our children
whether we’re buying a loaf of bread so be intentional about the language that is from
my standpoint I actually brought along a set of sheets of information about immigration
that I put on the table there aren’t enough for all the people in the room so just to
inform yourself if you just Google hash tag immigration syllabus There’s a National Consortium
of scholars of immigration of put together a reading list and of course you have to read
it all but if you just sort of go through and say Here are some I’m kind of curious
about a lot of it is just hyperlink so you can just click on it. And it’ll some of it’s just article length
some of it’s video legs of its book length but just to get a sense of of what the actual
truth is if you find yourself in a difficult conversation about immigration you actually
have some accurate information from perception so you have the immigration syllabus We’ll
get you right there I want to give a historic historical perspective to the our inspirations
of the comic just be used nice to people which is I think he said that before he was the
human to people if you don’t like the humans you know one of the great hopes in traditional
Judaism is that one day the Messiah will come and I’m sure in a time of perfection so the
question is what will it take for the Messiah to come and at one point other legend says
that allies are who somehow went back and forth between heaven and earth that was around
for us to ask questions if we could ever find him a large was asking where is the Messiah
when we come into the Messiah it is disguised as a leper at the gates of Rome waiting for
somebody to be nice to. And the idea is that when we see somebody
who is other in any way whatsoever I mean imagine how other a leper must have felt back
in the world if you can see that person as a potential and treat the person as a human
being with kindness and righteousness and justice you know that could be the Messiah
at which point the Messiah will take off the disguise and say time for the Messianic Age
So it’s an idea say to treat everyone like they’re human because they are so I want to
thank our panelists tonight I want to thank all of you thank you thank you. Thank you I just wanted to extend a few other
Think use the 1st I see all of you in this room at almost 9 o’clock on a Wednesday so
I think you know I want to recognize our dean at Penn State Law Dean Hari Osofsky I want
to. I want to thank our fabulous I.T. communications
and clinic team has really helped. Create the village behind the scenes so thank you
for allowing us to take the stage while you work hard behind scenes.

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