The word itself evokes a range of emotions for different people.
Some immediately think of “illegal immigration,” a topic of much debate these days. Others think of their ancestors’ journey from a foreign country to America in search of a brighter future. And some think of their own immigration – a joyous occasion for some and a frustrating or frightening experience for others.
Stories of immigration are as varied as the people themselves. This week, we put aside the politically charged rhetoric to hear raw stories of immigration.
Four residents of Southwest Colorado will share their stories from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Powerhouse Science Center, 1333 Camino del Rio. It is part of The Durango Herald’s bimonthly storytelling series, Durango Diaries.
Rosa Sabido, a Mexican national who has lived in sanctuary since June 2, 2017, at the United Methodist Church in Mancos. Sabido, a Cortez resident since the 1980s, was told in May that her application for a one-year stay of removal was denied by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Appearing by video and Skype, Sabido will share her story of coming to the country and living in church sanctuary.Kamran Afzal, chief of the Durango Police Department, will share his story of immigrating to the United States from Karachi, Pakistan, in 1982 at the age of 15. He had never before seen snow, and English was a second language. He studied economics before pursuing a career in law enforcement. “America has been, was and probably always will be a beacon of hope,” he says.Sabine Davidson, who was born in Germany in 1945, just months after the war had ended. She and her family escaped from East Germany and lived in numerous refugee camps as a child. At 25, she came to America as an au pair, falling in love with her future husband at the Empire State Building on her first day here. She had to move back to Germany, but her husband found a job for her as an interpreter in America, and she was able to immigrate. The process was anything but easy. She will discuss her time as a refugee, living with a wall dividing countries and the process of migration.Danny Quinlan, who has been the executive director of Compañeros: Four Corners Immigrant Resource Center, since 2014. He has been working with immigrant and Spanish-speaking populations in Southwest Colorado since 2010. His passion for human rights and justice is what called him to his line of work.