Speakers told stories of bravery, challenge and resiliency at a community discussion hosted by Immigrant Pathways Colorado on March 4.
The event, called “Boots on the Ground: The Humanitarian Crisis in Denver,” focused on the refugees arriving to the Denver area in recent months. Speakers included representatives from organizations serving these refugees and an immigrant who crossed the Mexican border.
Immigrant Pathways Colorado is a Littleton-based nonprofit organization that aims to assist immigrants to make Colorado their home and to build mutually respectful relationships within the community, according to its website.
Susan Thornton, co-chair of Immigrant Pathways Colorado, welcomed the 40 community members who attended the event.
She explained the organization’s three main projects, which are: providing self-development grants for documented, low-income immigrants, offering scholarships for immigrant students at Arapahoe Community College and conducting community workshops to educate the community about immigrants and the immigration system in the United States.
Julia Guzman, an immigration attorney and board member of the nonprofit, spoke about immigration policy. Claudia Villa, an immigration attorney who is involved with the Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Center spoke about incarceration, crowded shelters and the resiliency of immigrants. Marlene Bedoya of the Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Center and Norma Lopez, an immigrant from Mexico City, shared their personal stories of immigration.
Thornton said her biggest takeway from the event was the resiliency of immigrants and all of the challenges they overcome in coming to the U.S.
She said its important for the community to learn these stories.
“These people are here, and they're here to stay,” she said. “We want them to be as integrated into our culture and community as possible, just like we want everyone to be involved. So I think it's important that community members understand people from other cultures and have a sense of their stories.”
Future events hosted by Immigrant Pathways Colorado can be found on their website at https://www.connectingimmigrants.org/events/ or by signing up for their newsletter.