Amanda R.'s blog

Plaza Voices: African American Migration

Cover of In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience

In honor of Black History Month, this week we share a few resources relating to the migration experiences of African Americans.

Plaza Voices: Scholarships for DREAMers

College students

Earlier this month, TheDream.US, a nonprofit college access program, announced that it will partner with three Colorado colleges to offer scholarships and support services to youth in Colorado who qualify for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and are not eligible for federal financial aid.

Plaza Voices: Refugees are Brain Gain

Syrian refugee pictured with clothing she created.

An organization in Finland called Startup Refugees is working to create new opportunities for refugees and native-born Finns, according to an article in Fast Company this month.

Plaza Voices: Mental Health

"Melancholy," courtesy of Creative Commons

Lulu, a Plaza staff member & regular contributor writes:

Plaza Voices: Human Rights

Human Rights Logo (see www.humanrightslogo.net for more details)

In honor of the recent International Human Rights Day, we have a post from Naghem, our regular contributor & staff member at the Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales Branch:

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”  -Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Plaza Voices: My Journey--Coming to America

The Statue of Liberty

Naghem S., a Plaza staff member, writes:

I asked my father why he came to the United States. Below is his story, and essentially the beginning of my story, for if it wasn’t for my father’s sacrifice I wouldn't be here today to share this with you.

"At a young age, I always knew that I was going to be drafted into the Iraqi Armed Forces. It was a nightmare of mine because while I was proud and honored to serve my country, the president was an absolute dictator. To say “No” would mean death to me, my family, and everyone who ever knew me.

Plaza Voices: Colors Speak Louder Than Words

Cover of The Secret Language of Color, available from DPL

Naghem S., a Plaza staff member, writes:

What’s your favorite color? What color do you wear to feel good? What color brings you happiness? Maybe you have more than one favorite color and maybe you love all colors equally. Colors speak louder than words, especially if you don’t feel like talking.

Plaza Voices: My Journey--Wearing a Hijab in America

Woman wearing a hijab.

Naghem S., a Plaza staff member, writes:

“Why do you wear that thing on your head?”

I get asked this question almost every day, and a million reasons pop into my head. It’s my religion, it’s an act of worship, the hijab gets me closer to God, it’s my identity, and so forth. Yet the resonating voice, that soul-stopping and heart-pounding answer, is that my hijab is my freedom.

Plaza Voices: U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera

U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera (Library of Congress)

This past June, the Library of Congress announced that the new Poet Laureate of the United States will be California writer Juan Felipe Herrera. He is the first Latino author to hold the post. He was also the Poet Laureate of California from 2012-2015.

Herrera has been called "an American original," whose poems "champion voices and traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity.” 

Plaza Voices: The Universal Language

Yasmine Hamdan's "Ya Nass," available from DPL

The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called music the "universal language of mankind," an old idea with some new scientific backing.

Music, like all languages, is constantly evolving, mixing ideas, identities, and cultures. Globalization and the internet have enabled more and more of us to listen to and create music that crosses the borders between languages, ethnicities, and nations. 

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