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The Indianapolis Immigrant Experience Reminds Us Where We Came From

We are all immigrants. Except for the Native Americans, we all sailed across an ocean or crossed a border to get here, whether it was the Atlantic Ocean 230 years ago or the Canadian border two days ago. Whether you’re first generation or tenth, the United States belongs to immigrants of every color, creed, and class. And Indiana isn’t exempt; as the Crossroads of America, Indianapolis has a thriving population of people hailing from around the world, and the cultural diversity of the Circle City is reflected in a number of institutions, programs, and Indianapolis attractions. Even though we’re all technically immigrants, the experience of each person is different in many ways, but the experiences are similar in almost as many respects. If you’d like to take part in a discussion about the many ways immigrants have impacted Central Indiana and beyond, head to the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 for a panel discussion entitled The Indianapolis Immigrant Experience: Shaping Our City. The presentation will include five panel members from five different countries and professions for a well rounded look at the effects immigrants have had on the city we all call home.

The Indianapolis Immigrant Experience: Shaping Our City is a panel discussion that involves five different moderators from Indianapolis business, Indianapolis education, and even Indianapolis real estate. The five panel members are Sofiya Inger, Habib Diatta, Ahmed Qasem Khuder, Maria Pimentel-Gannon, and Gadi Boukai. Habib Diatta, originally from Senegal, teaches French at North Central High School, an Indianapolis high school. Ahmed Qasam Khuder, originally from Kurdistan, has assisted United States troops with interpretation in Iraq thanks to his Special Immigrant Visa. Maria Pimentel-Gannon is a respected leader of Indy‘s Hispanic community, the president of St. Monica’s Catholic Church and former recipient of the Mayor’s Community Leadership Award, a Hispanic Leadership Award, and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis Spirit of Service Award. Gadi Boukai, the fourth panelist and an original resident of Israel, is an Indianapolis real estate agent who sells Indianapolis homes for sale for F.C. Tucker Realty.

The original inspiration for The Indianapolis Immigrant Experience is the fifth panelist for this engaging event at the Glick Jewish Community Center: visual artist Sofiya Inger. Originally from Russia, in what she calls “the old northern town of narrow streets, ancient cathedrals, and long, white, snowy winters,” Inger is an accomplished Indianapolis artist who works in a variety of mediums, including paintings, pastels, acrylic on silk, sculpture, and found objects to create surreal, detailed works of Indianapolis art. Inger was educated at the Kirov School of Art in Russia and took courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Since 1999, she’s been incredibly active at Indianapolis art galleries: Sofiya Inger’s work has appeared at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, the Indianapolis Art Center, Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University, Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, the Dean Johnson Gallery, Gallery One 36 in Westfield, Indiana, the Hoosier Salon, and even the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Participants in the Indianapolis Immigrant Experience will get accompany Inger on a tour of her collection, “Coming Back to Center,” at the JCC after the panel.

Video of Indianapolis artist Sofiya Inger being interviewed at the Indianapolis Art Center, where she teaches Indianapolis art classes; Sofiya Inger will be a panelist at The Indianapolis Immigrant Experience at the Glick JCC in Indianapolis

 

The Indianapolis Immigrant Experience: Shaping Our City is yet another Indianapolis event sponsored by IndyTalks, a collaboration of over 20 community groups (some Indianapolis non-profit organizations, some not) to “foster a sense of community through respectful and creative civic dialogue.” IndyTalks hosts discussions and panels about a variety of topics in the Circle City, all centered around the theme of “Indy as a Super City.” The contributions of Naptown‘s immigrants are just another example of why Indianapolis is great. Far from simple presentations, IndyTalks are intended to get Indianapolis people doing just that: talking. Together, the Indiana Humanities Council, Channel 20 WFYI, Marian University, Christian Theological Seminary, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and plenty of other Indianapolis organizations are helping to create a community dialogue, and the Indianapolis Immigrant Experience: Shaping Our City is just one thread of the conversation.

If you’d like to join in on a discussion of the benefits of the Circle City’s multicultural makeup, you should go to the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 to participate in The Indianapolis Immigrant Experience: Shaping Our City. Featuring five panelists–Sofiya Inger, Habib Diatta, Ahmed Qasem Khuder, Maria Pimentel-Gannon, and Gadi Boukai–the Indianapolis Immigrant Experience will allow you to learn a bit more about the cultural makeup of Indianapolis and contribute your own knowledge to the discussion; afterward, attend a gallery tour with Sofiya Inger. This IndyTalks panel will take place on February 22, 2011 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. While this Indianapolis event is absolutely free, IndyTalks recommends that you register for the event by visiting www.JCCIndy.org or calling 317.251.9467. Join IndyTalks on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 for the Indianapolis Immigrant Experience: Shaping Our City.

The Indianapolis Immigrant Experience: Shaping Our City
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Tickets: FREE
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Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center
6701 Hoover Rd
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Phone: 317.251.9467
Fax: 317.251.9493
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