Immigration Stories from a Minneapolis High School: Green Card Youth Voices

Immigration Stories from a Minneapolis High School: Green Card Youth Voices


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Green Card Youth Voices: Immigration Stories from a Minneapolis High School is a unique collection of thirty personal essays written by students from Wellstone International High School. Coming from thirteen different countries, these youth share stories of family, school, change, and dreams. The broad range of experiences and the honesty with which these young people tell their stories is captured here with inspiring clarity. Although their reasons for immigrating are vast, a common thread united them; despite tremendous tribulation, these young people continue to work toward the futures of which they dream. With the included study guide and glossary, Green Card Youth Voices is an exceptional resource for English and social science classes, adult learners, ESL classrooms, and book clubs. Each personal essay is accompanied by a first-person video narrative available online.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781949523003
Publisher: Green Card Voices
Publication date: 04/23/2019
Series: Green Card Youth Voices Series
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 1,270,421
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

AUTHORS: Zaynab Abdi: Yemen; Luis Angel Santos Henriquez: El Salvador; Ayan Arbow: Somalia; Mohamed Abdiwahab: Ethiopia; Nanah Jalloh: Sierra Leone; Willian Alonzo: Guatemala; Zamzam Shukri: Somalia; Yonis Ahmed: Ethiopia; Jennifer Nunez Paz: Honduras; Abdullahi Osman: Somalia; Nathaly Carchi: Ecuador; Kayd Falug: Ethiopia; Zamzam Ahmed: Ahmed; Yonis Yusuf: Kenya; Dorette Nguelefack: Cameroon; Khadar Muhumed: Ethiopia; Jennifer Erraez: Ecuador; Abdinasir Hussein: Somalia; Safiya Ahmed: Somalia; Aksum & Tsion Woldeyes: Ethiopia; Quan Guan: China; Abdirahman Hirad: Somalia; Alexandra Irrazabal: Ecuador; Ikrem Nuru: Ethiopia; Wendy Saint-Felix: Haiti; Fosiya Hussein: Somalia; Eduardo Lopez: Mexico; Keriya Hassan: Ethiopia; Ahmed Ahmed: Somalia

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Foreword

This year, I’ve been teaching at North Hennepin Community College. I accepted the opportunity because I understood that I would be teaching young people like my cousins and myself. In my classes, I’ve met many white students, and a small minority are American veterans trying to make good on an education the government promised them when they signed up to be men and women of war. In my classes, I’ve met many people of color, men and women, young and old, who have traveled far to call this place home, struggling to learn English and living lonely lives in cold Minnesota. I’ve learned form each of my students, but it is the voices of those who are yearning to belong, to find themselves in the literature we are reading, desperately piecing their stories into English on the pages before them, that remind me of why so many people, the world over, make the long and often painful journey to America, imperfect as it is.

A Hmong boy in my Hmong American Literature class told me that he didn’t realize he was different from his white peers until he was in the fifth grade and a teacher asked the class to draw a picture of themselves. In his self-portrait, the young boy carefully mirrored his round face, his amont eyes, the slant of his brow, his button nose, and his side-swept bangs to the best of his ability. To make sure that all who looked upon the image would know it was him, he even included the gold chain with the cross he wore around his neck each and every day. When the boy was happy with his picture, he showed his teacher. She looked confused for a moment, and then said, “I told you to draw yourself.” The boy pointed to the page, the familiar features, and the gold chain. The teacher shook her head, frustrated. She said, “You’re not white.” This was the first time the boy realized that Hmong was different. Since that moment, he has been looking to find pieces of his story in the books in the classroom, to find pieces of himself, to no avail.

A young man from Somalia in my From Immigrants to Refugees class responds to a writing prompt — “What is your American dream?” — in a series of heartbreaking moments. He had a plane ticket to go anywhere in the world, and he chose Ethiopia. I asked, “Why?” He answered, “It is the closest I can get to Somalia.” In a presentation about his return to Ethiopia, he shared a memory from his youth: “When I was a boy in Somalia, I had to walk two hours to get a meal from the United Nations. Sometimes, I was so hungry that I walked too slow, so by the time I got to the center the food would be gone. I would return home. I couldn’t go to sleep. My grandma used to tell me to put rocks in a piece of cloth, twist it up tight, and weigh my stomach down so the growling would cease long enough for me to fall asleep. I ate banana peels when we were lucky.” In a forum conversation, he wrote, “I am living my American dream. This is what young boys, hungry and afraid, dream about: a full stomach, a chance at education, the opportunity to work beyond dreams.”

A woman from Liberia in my Writing Composition I Class can barely write in English. THe guidelines were simple: a one page, double-spaced, 12 point font response to a short story she read for class. The page before mw as a jumble of language, in 9.5 font, single-spaced, no indentations, full of incorrect grammar, spelling errors, punctuation mistakes. I asked, “What is this page about?” “It is everything important to me,” she answered. “What is important to you?” I asked. “That is the story of my life,” she said. “Why are you writing the story of your life?” I asked. “It is the only thing I want to do in English,” she said. My job is to help her. My year at North Hennepin is coming to a close. I cannot take my students with me; instead, it is their stories that will accompany me. In this book, you will meet stories like those of my students. You get to carry them with you — these young people who’ve traveled so far, from so little and so much, to try belonging — and fortify your heart, your journey, and perhaps even your dreams with this life we share in America. In these pages, you get an opportunity to push away the walls of your life and let the world enter, through the eyes of its youth, through the stories of how it is that we are born in different parts of the world but still connected by the fabric of humanity and hope.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments - v; Introduction - ix; World Map - xii; Personal Essays - xv; Zaynab Abdi: Yemen - 1; Luis Angel Santos Henriquez: El Salvador - 7; Ayan Arbow: Somalia - 11; Mohamed Abdiwahab: Ethiopia - 15; Nanah Jalloh: Sierra Leone - 19; Willian Alonzo: Guatemala - 23; Zamzam Shukri: Somalia - 27; Yonis Ahmed: Ethiopia - 31; Jennifer Nunez Paz: Honduras - 35; Abdullahi Osman: Somalia - 39; Nathaly Carchi: Ecuador - 43; Kayd Falug: Ethiopia - 47; Zamzam Ahmed: Ahmed - 51; Yonis Yusuf: Kenya - 55; Dorette Nguelefack: Cameroon - 59; Khadar Muhumed: Ethiopia - 65; Jennifer Erraez: Ecuador - 69; Abdinasir Hussein: Somalia - 73; Safiya Ahmed: Somalia - 77; Aksum & Tsion Woldeyes: Ethiopia - 81; Quan Guan: China - 87; Abdirahman Hirad: Somalia - 91; Alexandra Irrazabal: Ecuador - 97; Ikrem Nuru: Ethiopia - 103; Wendy Saint-Felix: Haiti - 109; Fosiya Hussein: Somalia - 113; Eduardo Lopez: Mexico - 117; Keriya Hassan: Ethiopia - 121; Ahmed Ahmed: Somalia - 125; Afterword - 129; Study Guide - 131; Glossary - 135; About Green Card Voices - 137; Additional Resources from Green Card Voices - 139

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