Storytelling school

Sac State Hosts Multicultural, Audience Storytelling Event – The State Hornet

Stories of immigrants and children of immigrants

Storytellers talk about their experiences living as immigrants or from an immigrant background at the Hinde Auditorium on Friday, October 28, 2022. (Mercy Sosa to Canva)

Filled with raw emotions and experiences, the public was invited to hear diverse immigrant stories full of challenges and successes at the “Stories of Immigrants” event on October 28.

Sacramento State hosted “Immigrant Stories,” a speaker presentation produced by the nonprofit Capital Storytelling in partnership with Sac State’s Dreamer Resource Center.

The event captured five storytellers who took the stage to share their personal experiences as immigrants or from an immigrant background.

Kim Gomez

Sac State Dreamer Resource Center coordinator Kim Gomez stands at the Serna Center Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. “Being the oldest daughter in an immigrant household, there was a lot of pressure,” Gomez said. (Monserrat (Mimi) Covarrubias)

Kim Gomez, Sac State Coordinator Dreamer Resource Centersaid growing up with immigrant parents was difficult.

“Being the oldest daughter, in an immigrant household, there was a lot of pressure,” Gomez said. “There were a lot of gender stereotypes and a lot of pressure to do well in school, to translate and to take care of my brother. When I was able to drive, I had to take over.

Gomez said she fears that at any moment her parents will be kicked out and not be there.

Gomez shared her story of crossing the border and the difficulties she faced in obtaining citizenship or permanent residency.

“My parents migrated [to the U.S.] when they were 18. They were young… To this day, they still don’t have papers,” Gomez said.

Meghna Bhat

Meghna Bhat, an independent gender and social justice consultant, educator and storyteller, sits in a nearby cafe around Sac State on Monday, October 24, 2022. “Nobody prepares us for a lot of other things and it’s part of life that you learn as you go,” Bhat said. (Monserrat (Mimi) Covarrubias)

Meghna Bhat, an independent gender and social justice consultant, is a proud first-generation immigrant from India.

Bhat came to the United States to study at age 23 and earned her doctorate. in Criminology, Law, and Justice from the University of Illinois, Chicago.

“As international students, we read about life in the United States. We are delighted. We look forward to our independence as responsible adults,” Bhat said. “Nobody prepares us for a lot of other things and that’s part of life that you learn as you go.”

One of the hardest things Bhat shared in his story was during his flight out of Philadelphia. She looked forward to the next chapter of her education, but forgot how long she would not be able to see her family.

“I am a very family-oriented person. We grew up very close,” Bhat said. “I think a lot of sacrifices and compromises have been made both by my family, my loved ones and by myself.”

Bhat added that Capital Storytelling’s peer group and their stories of the American dream or “immigrant success” would each be different. She noted that when people find a safe and inclusive space that values ​​their voice, they will be more likely to share their stories.

“Immigrants of all generations, ages, demographics, diasporas and lived experiences play a critical role in shaping our narratives, policies and creating culture change,” Bhat said.

Vahideh Allahyari

Education Major Vahideh Allahyari sits on the second floor of Lassen Hall on Tuesday, October 25, 2022. a woman because I couldn’t find a job,” Allahayari said. (Monserrat (Mimi) Covarrubias)

Vahideh Allahyari, an education student at Sac State, arrived in the United States in November 2013.

Allahyari said her immigration process was easier than others because she married an American citizen, but after coming here she felt a loss in her culture and was uneducated.

“After arriving here, I lost my culture by speaking my language. It was too hard for me – to fix my life and have my rights as a woman because I couldn’t find a job,” Allahayari said. “After arriving here, I felt uneducated.”

She added that she felt a support system through her university experience of the college community. [library] helped her find a job, friends and a community.

Diana Medina

Director of Community Partnerships for a non-profit organization, poet, educator and Mexican-American coach, Diana Medina. “People of the first generation, when they were children of immigrants, our parents and our ancestors cross a geographical border and we have to cross a border of mentality to redefine what success is,” Medina said. (Photo: courtesy of Diana Medina)

Diana Medina, director of community partnerships for the nonprofit The Practice Space, a Mexican-American poet, educator and coach, is a first-generation daughter of immigrant parents.

“People of the first generation, when they were children of immigrants, our parents and our ancestors cross a geographical border and we have to cross a border of mentality to redefine what success is,” Medina said.

Medina described her parents as being very traditional, very Mexican, and to them, success seems a certain way. She said it sounds like a marriage, kids, a home and stability near your family, which she doesn’t have.

“As people of color, as non-white people in America, we should name the experience when it’s uncomfortable,” Medina said. “Your story is worth telling. Find places to tell your story and embed your identity into your story.