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Symposium on Buffalo-Niagara Region immigration and resettlement

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Tue, Aug 15th 2017 12:35 pm
On Sept. 8-9, The New York Folklore Society, a statewide nonprofit arts organization supporting folklife and traditional arts, and the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, will host a roundtable discussion and symposium to explore challenges in the intersection of immigration, resettlement and cultural traditions in Western New York.
This two-day participatory program at the Castellani Art Museum includes panel discussions showcasing the area's innovative responses to cultural sharing and accommodation; a workshop for artists, musicians and dance performances; exhibitions; and pop-up activities. Themes of the roundtable symposium include micro-enterprise in community settings; placemaking through food, language and changing neighborhood identities; responses to migration; and public and community health care.
Events will kick off on Friday, Sept. 8, with a talk by Lisa Catalfamo-Flores about her photographic exhibition on view at the museum, "El Sueño de América / The Dream of America: Separation & Sacrifice in the Lives of North Country Latino Immigrants," which explores the challenges and sacrifices of workers from upstate milking parlors to the cinder-block homes of Guadalajara, Mexico, and back again.
Following the talk will be musical and dance performances by members of Buffalo's newcomer communities.
Registration on Saturday, Sept. 9, runs from 8-9 a.m. The program begins with a traditional Thanksgiving address by Bryan Printup of the Tuscarora Nation followed by two roundtable sessions examining placemaking through mechanisms of neighborhood revitalization, food, education and language.
Speakers in the first session include Thaw Yee and Daniel Leong of the Karen Society of Buffalo, Amelia Blake of Explore and More Children's Museum, and Printup. The following session focusing on food and language includes presentations by Elizabeth Bloom of Hartwick College, food journalist Ramin Ganeshram, and Julie Tay of the Mencius Society for the Arts.
Christina Pope, regional director for Welcoming America, will provide a plenary address at 11:30 a.m., sharing Welcoming America's three-pronged model for successfully bridging divides between immigrants and longer-term residents in "receiving" communities.
Launched in 2009, the nonprofit Welcoming America has spurred a growing movement across the U.S., with one in eight Americans living in a "Welcoming Community." Their award-winning, social entrepreneurship model is predicated on assisting communities to create and articulate principles for inclusion.
The afternoon sessions begin at 1:30 p.m. with a look into micro-enterprise and entrepreneurship initiatives with panelists Dawne Hoeg of Stitch Buffalo; Ma Theint of Moon Lady Arts and Crafts; Michelle Holler of WEDI/West Side Bazaar; and Dr. Mirza Tihic of Syracuse University. This will be followed at 2:30 p.m. by the final session looking into health care challenges and initiatives, with participation by Laura Trolio of the New York Department of Health, Gamileh Jamil of ACCESS WNY, and Michael Martin of Native American Community Services. It will be moderated by Wilfredo Morel of Hudson River Health Care.
Participants can then access free transportation via the Discover Niagara Shuttle to continue exploring the conference themes in pop-up activities and discussions at multiple venues in neighboring Niagara Falls and Lewiston. Details to follow.
The conference concludes with a closing reception at the Niagara Crossing Hotel and Spa, and a closing address by Printup.
To register, visit the website of the New York Folklore Society at www.nyfolklore.org or call 518-346-7008 for information.

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