As a member of student-labor solidarity group UW United Students Against Sweatshops, and having some experience working with migrant farm workers in my hometown of Davis, California, I am interested in community centers and community organizing among immigrants. I want to know how these organizations get started, who starts them, how they thrive and how they can be a sustainable part of their communities. There are a number of organizations in the Seattle area that serve immigrant needs, including the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center, and Casa Latina. These are resources I can use to have a baseline for my research. By looking at community centers in Berlin this summer, I hope to gain a better understanding of community organizing, seeing what aspects stay consistent place to place, and what must adapt to suit the situation it faces.
I have several questions which will help frame my research as I go. I anticipate that my broad focus will narrow as I learn more about the topic. First, what is the involvement of faith communities for organizing with immigrants in Berlin? I know that here in Seattle and in California, immigrant networks receive much support from churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions. I am somewhat aware of tensions present in Berlin regarding Muslim immigration, and wonder if there is a supportive, antagonistic or ambivalent relationship between Muslim immigrants and local or otherwise “German” faith groups. I also wonder about education for immigrant communities. How are Turkish or other immigrant children expected to integrate into German culture? Do immigration networks provide services for adults to learn German and otherwise culturally integrate? Another area of interest and currently of ignorance for me is documentation of immigrants. I plan to learn more about German immigration law to know if they face similar challenges that undocumented immigrants have here: lack of mobility, threat of deportation, wage theft, mistreatment in the workplace, etc. If so, what do immigration networks do to address these issues?
Before departing for Berlin I will explore the resources available for immigrants here in the United States. My preliminary research will include Casa Latina in Seattle, Seattle’s Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center, and the Yolo Interfaith Immigration network in my hometown of Davis, California. I will also try to educate myself on the specifics of German immigration law before getting there.
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Ellermann, Antje. States Against Migrants: Deportation in Germany and the United States. New
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Castles, Stephen, Peo Hassen, and Carl-Urlik Schierup. Migration, Citizenship, and the
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