In the spring of 2018, James Madison Memorial High School in Madison embarked on an all school read of Green Card Youth Voices: Immigration Stories from a Minneapolis High Schools. Over 2,000 students read immigration stories written by authors of their own age, and were introduced to the authentic and diverse stories of Minneapolis immigrants from thirteen countries. The book inspired a more empathetic understanding of immigrants, and showcased the need for a similar publication featuring student immigrants from Wisconsin. As Green Card Voices planned the production of a book featuring stories from a Madison high school, they were contacted by the College Possible Milwaukee team, who hoped to collaborate and highlight the stories of immigrant students at Milwaukee high schools. Through this connection, the idea of a book featuring student immigrants from both cities was developed.
In late October, Green Card Voices’ Executive Director, Tea Rozman, and Refugee Immigrant Youth Ambassador Zaynab Abdi met with the future authors from both high schools, prepared them for recordings, and answered all of their questions about the process. The 30 Wisconsin students represent immigrants originally coming from 15 countries; Myanmar, Colombia, Thailand, Somalia, Afghanistan, Laos, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Syria, Nepal, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Kenya. This project is made possible through the collaboration of Green Card Voices, Pulaski High School in Milwaukee, College Possible Milwaukee, and James Madison Memorial High School in Madison.
On November 14 and 15, the Green Card Voices team recorded the stories of student immigrants at Pulaski High School in Milwaukee, followed by more recordings at James Madison Memorial High School in Madison from November 26 – 27.
The video narratives, as well as written personal essays that will be compiled and published as a multimedia book; Green Card Youth Voices: Immigration Stories from Madison and Milwaukee High Schools. The students have been prepared with six open-ended questions regarding their experiences, which they will narrate during recordings. The recording transcripts will then be used as the basis for students’ personal essays. Through partnership with Pulaski High School’s College Possible team, students will be paired with mentors to help with the editing process as each essay is prepared for publication. The video recordings will be posted to the Green Card Voices website and free and accessible to the public, and each published essay will be accompanied by a link to the student’s video narrative.
The finished book will be the fifth in the Green Card Youth Voices series, which works to generate awareness about the immigrant experience. The previous titles (Minneapolis, St. Paul, Atlanta, and Fargo) each feature 30 immigrant youth originally from 35 different countries. Some fled xenophobia, others came to be reunited with family, and all left behind loved ones. These stories show the tremendous resiliency, courage, and unabashed hope these young people maintain as they imagine their futures in this new country. The multimedia publications include QR codes linking to the students’ video narratives, full color portraits, a glossary, and a study guide to help teachers use the book as an educational resource when teaching about immigration. This project was was published in September 2019.
- 30 personal essays of immigrant youth from 15 countries
- Full-color portraits
- Links to digital stories on the Green Card Voices Website
- Excerpt from Act4Change: Green Card Voices Study Guide
- 170+ pages