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One Read for Racial Justice Guide: Our Stories Carried Us Here: Overview

What is a One Read?

The One Read for Racial Justice is an annual, collaborative, campus-wide initiative that seeks to raise awareness about racial justice issues, create opportunities for dialogues across difference and discipline, and to promote community. It’s like a giant book club where we all get together to read a common text and then discuss it as a community and plan other events that help deepen our understanding of the book and its themes. The One Read is an initiative led by the library in collaboration with a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni across departments and disciplines.

More from Green Card Voices

Story Stitch

Story Stitch is a storytelling card game. Learn about the unique backgrounds of immigrant and non-immigrant community members though this cooperative experience. Everybody wins!

To check out this item at the St. Kate's Library, ask about it at the front desk!

VIRTUAL Story Stitch Kit

VIRTUAL Story Stitch Kit

This kit provides you with everything you need to play Story Stitch in an online environment!

Immigration and Refugees: Ethics, Policies, and Histories

America for Americans
The Making of Asian America
A People's History of the Hmong
American Immigration: A Very Short Introduction

Documentaries on Immigrants and Refugees

Podcasts

Green Card Voices Podcast
A podcast about immigrants' stories from the publisher behind Our Stories Carried Us Here.

Immigrantly
Saadia Khan tackles the big questions on race, identity & the immigrant experience while challenging mainstream narratives in today’s divided America.

Modern Immigrant
Modern Immigrant is a podcast hosted by Vero, originally from Caracas, Venezuela. Growing up, she was fascinated with her father’s journey as he shared his stories about his immigration. Vero’s experience with immigration continues today as she explores life in the USA.  Modern Immigrant creates a space for open discussion and communication about our unique immigration stories.

Redirect
Redirect is a collaborative blog and podcast (a “blogcast,” if you will) brought to you by Immigration Attorneys Matthew Archambeault (Philadelphia, PA) and Stephen Robbins (Yakima, WA). It is designed to share unique perspectives on U.S. immigration policy and the practice of law.

Only In America
Hear how Americans from all walks of life and from across the political spectrum are experiencing changes in their communities as a result of immigration. Faith leaders, law enforcement officials, business owners and others speak openly about the way culture, identity and values are shaping and defining our country, and they offer a constructive way forward in the immigration debate.

Discussion resources

Guide Feedback

Our Stories Carried Us Here

A bold and unconventional collection of first-person stories told and illustrated by immigrants and refugees living across the United States.

Stanford scientist, deaf student, indigenous activist, Black entrepreneur—all immigrants and refugees—recount journeys from their home countries in ten vibrantly illustrated stories. Faced by unfamiliar vistas, they are welcomed with possibilities, and confronted by challenges and prejudice. Timely, sobering, and insightful, Our Stories Carried Us Here acts as a mirror and a light to connect us all with immigrant and refugee experiences. Green Card Voices works to educate and empower communities by amplifying first-person stories of America’s immigrants. (From publisher)

"One feels the otif of the American Dream throughout this book. not as the universal truth it is usually  painted as, but as a trope that some of the authors would very much like to undo to get at a more personal truth closer to their own experience."—Thi Bui, author of The Best We Could Do

About the Authors

Zaynab Abdi

Since arriving in the United States, Zaynab Abdi has set goals for herself. She wants to have the best future possible.

Zaynab was born in Aden, Yemen. She grew up in a large household with her extended family. Her mother immigrated to the United States through the Green Card Lottery when Zaynab was very young. After sixteen years, her mother was eligible to sponsor her for a visa, and Zaynab made plans to immigrate.

Before she could move, a revolution erupted in Yemen, disrupting her plans. She moved to Egypt with her sister. After two years, Zaynab’s visa arrived but not her sister’s; she would have to find another way.  As another revolution began in Egypt, Zaynab went to Minnesota. It was difficult for Zaynab to adjust to life in the United States. Not only was she introduced to American culture, but she had to learn about her mother’s Somali culture as well. However, Zaynab was glad to be reunited with her mother.

(From publisher)

Aziz Kamal

After Aziz arrived in the United States, he was relieved that he could finally get an education and be reunited with his father and brothers.

Aziz lived in Myanmar in the time when the Buddhist people burned the Rohingya part of his city. Aziz, his mother, and siblings, along with many others, had to move to refugee camps. After living in a tent for six months, Aziz and his family fled to Malaysia to join his father.

Aziz’ family paid a substantial amount of money to make the dangerous journey to Malaysia by boat. They were promised that they would be the only family on the voyage; however, their boat was overcrowded, and there was insufficient food for the journey. It took a month to reach Malaysia, and during the journey, many people died.

When Aziz and his family were in Malaysia, he had hoped to attend school, but because he did not have Malay citizenship, he could not. By the time Aziz arrived in Malaysia, his father had already moved to the United States. After several tests and interviews, Aziz was finally able to also resettle in the US, joining his father and brothers.

(From publisher)

Craig Moodie

“Just by being me and interacting with people, they get to see someone who looks like me that is successful. Maybe that will challenge some people’s preconceived notions.”

Craig Moodie loved being surrounded by the incredible culture in his home country of Jamaica. But when he immigrated to the U.S. for school, his culture was challenged by the preconceived notions and stereotypes of his peers.

Mr. Moodie was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. His father became enamored with the idea of the “American Dream” and gradually relocated his business in the U.S., culminating with his decision to immigrate. However, Craig and the rest of his family remained in Jamaica.

After completing high school, Craig began contemplating his future. His aunt was the dean of admissions for a university in Jamaica and encouraged him to apply there. Weary about having to choose his entire career path as a teenager, Mr. Moodie decided to pursue a degree at a liberal arts college in the U.S. He chose Macalester College, believing it offered the best opportunities for him. Upon his arrival in the U.S., Mr. Moodie had to face the many stereotypes of Jamaicans. He became confused and uneasy about his race as he was asked questions he had never encountered before.

After graduating from Macalester, Mr. Moodie attended the University of Minnesota for graduate school in neuroscience. He enjoys studying the brain because he wants to understand “what makes people tick”. After graduating from the U of M, Craig will continue his neuroscience research at Stanford University.

(From publisher)

Karelin

“I see that there are a lot of disadvantages in minority communities, especially for Latinos, so I want to go to college and study in a field where I can help my community, like public health or international relations.”

For Karelin, the American Dream means being able to overcome adversity to fulfill your dreams. She is taking steps forward to ensure her American Dream comes true.

Karelin was born in northern Guatemala and was raised by her aunt after her mother came to the United States. She enjoyed her life there and spent her time playing with her cousins, climbing trees, and running around barefoot. When Karelin was about seven years old, she went to live in the United States as well.

When she first arrived in the United States, Karelin lived with her uncle while she waited for her siblings to arrive. On her first day of school, Karelin was nervous, but she immediately made friends with another student in the same class. At first, Karelin was bullied by many kids at school, but she soon started to excel, even enrolling in several advanced classes.

Since arriving in Atlanta, Georgia, Karelin has begun to thrive. Now a high school student, she is applying to a number of top colleges but hopes to attend Yale University. Karelin is interested in studying international relations or political science. She hopes to help people who have had experienced similar difficulties in their lives.

(From publisher)

Ruth Mekoulom

Although being deaf may have its challenges, Ruth Mekoulom has persevered with great strength and determination.

Born in the central African nation of Chad, Ruth was five years old when she contracted an illness that resulted in hearing loss. War came, and Ruth’s family moved west to Cameroon where she stayed until the age of thirteen. She attended a school for deal children until her family could no longer afford to pay tuition.

When Ruth learned her family would be moving to the United States, she was shocked. She didn’t want to leave her friends and family behind. After stepping onto an airplane for the first time, Ruth arrived in Fargo, North Dakota in March of 2013. She started school but struggled to follow along as the only deaf student in class. She was often frustrated and lonely because of her inability to communicate.

Since then, Ruth has thrived in Fargo and at South High School. She learned American Sign Language and is teaching her family how to sign as well. After school she enjoys spending time with friends by playing soccer, sewing, or playing games. After high school, Ruth hopes to work at a spa, make clothes, and do charity work.

(From publisher)

Zurya Anjum

“In the past, it was a novelty to go to a place with snow and make a snowman. You would live for a few days there and then go back home. But driving in the snow… bundling up two small children… then going out in the snow and driving? It takes a lot of guts to live.”

Zurya was born in Pakistan as the youngest of three daughters. Her mother taught at the collegiate level, and her father served in the Pakistan army. Because of this, her family moved around quite frequently, experiencing life in a variety of different cities around Pakistan. After her father retired from the army, Zurya began to build her life in Rawalpindi. Watching her sisters become physicians led her to pursue medicine, and she spent many years moving from her original degree into post-graduate training. Halfway through her post-graduate training, her parents arranged for her marriage with her now-husband. She only met him a few days before the wedding, and not long afterwards, they moved to the United States to pursue a new life. 

Adjusting to life in Minnesota proved difficult for Zurya, as things that had once felt like comforts had now completely changed. She not only had to adjust to the snow and learn to drive on the other side of the road but also had to retake medical exams to be able to continue practicing medicine in the United States. After passing her exams again and spending four more years of residency training, she became a psychiatrist and has been practicing now for fifteen years. 

Zurya is a loving mother of two children and spends much of her time volunteering in their schools. She loves answering student questions about her faith or her culture because she believes it is one of the best ways to help people learn just how similar we all truly are. Additionally, Zurya spends a lot of time in her community working with organizations that promote inequality awareness and provide opportunities for people to grow their understanding of diversity. 

(From publisher)

Memoirs and Personal Narratives

Love Is an Ex-Country
We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World
Warda : my journey from the Horn of Africa to a college education
The Good Immigrant:  26 writers reflect on America
The Penguin Book of Migration Literature
Conditional Citizens: on belonging in America
We Too Sing America

Making and Understanding Comics

Minnesota Immigrant Rights Organizations

©2014 St. Catherine University Library, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA