BAR HARBOR — The MDI Racial Equity Working Group will hold three talks as part of their winter speaking series at the Jesup Memorial Library, beginning with “Immigration Law in These Challenging Times” with Anna Welch and Felix Hagenimana on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.
Welch and Hagenimana will talk about a wide range of issues surrounding immigration including, current waves of migration, the policy of immigrant detention and family separation and the shifting legal landscape for immigrants and refugees in the United States. They will specifically focus on what is happening currently in Maine. Welch is the Sam L. Cohen Refugee and Human Rights Clinical Professor at the University of Maine School of Law and Hagenimana is an Asylum Outreach Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP).
The second talk in the series is on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. with Myron M. Beasley, the associate professor of American studies at Bates College. Beasley’s talk “Dreamers, Dreams and Tall Tales: Malaga and Maine’s ‘Unspoken’ History” will focus on the history of Malaga Island, an island at the mouth of the New Meadows River in Casco Bay. The island was the site of an interracial community from the Civil War until 1911, when the residents were forcibly evicted from their homes. Beasley will focus on his research on the island and he will interrogate the cultural politics of the historical narrative including why might some of these narratives persist while others remain hidden or erased from the historical record?
The last talk in the series is with Abdi Nor Iftin, the author of the memoir “Call Me American” on Wednesday, April 15 at 7 p.m. As a child in war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia, Iftin became known as “Abdi American” and for his love of American influences. However, when radical Islamists took control of the city in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. However, Iftin continued to risk his life posting secret dispatches to NPR. Eventually, he fled to Kenya, and amazingly won entrance to the United States in the annual visa lottery. His route to America included a harrowing sequence of events that nearly stranded him in Nairobi and his journey was a feature story on This American Life. Iftin is now a proud resident of Maine. Books will be on sale that night courtesy of Sherman’s Books.