Butterfly Story Collective Podcast
Summary: The Butterfly Story Collective is a network of local storytelling projects produced by immigrants and about the immigrant experience in the United States. This podcast features stories shared by participants in those local projects from all over the country.
Human rights attorney and Iranian-American, Azadeh Shahshahani shares her journey from the day the Trump Administration issued the first ban on people from Muslim-majority countries, up to the day in the US Supreme Court she listened to arguments on that ban. Whether providing help to impacted families on that first day, or organizing a "People's Tribunal" on the ban last October, Azadeh remains resolute in continuing her work & optimistic about how the arc of justice will bend from this historic moment.
Civil rights attorney Hassan Shibly reflects on his meetings that day with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. He discusses the lack of empathy and anti-Muslim violence in relation to the Trump Administration's ban on people from five Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, where Hassan was born. He concludes that the current political climate must be met with empathy, truth, and the strength to abandon political talking points and instead look at the impact that such policies have on our fellow human beings.
Abrar Omeish shares her experiences growing up Muslim in a post-9/11 United States and how that has shaped her passion for social justice and public service. The daughter and granddaughter of Libyan immigrants, Abrar shares how her family has been kept separated by the current ban on people from Libya entering the U.S. She also reflects on how the ban, and islamophobia more broadly, have affected the psychology and social behavior of Muslims in her community.
Dr. Debbie Almontaser came to the United States from Yemen at the age of three, meeting her father and experiencing snow, both for the first time. On April 25, 2018, she sat in the Supreme Court, listening to oral arguments on a policy that bans people who, like her, were born in Yemen, along with five other majority Muslim countries, from entering the same country that welcomed her as a child. In her story, Debbie explores the ban's impact on Yemeni-Americans and why she is determined to remain optimistic.
Nisrin Elamin was one of the first people detained at JFK airport on Jan. 27, 2017, after President Trump signed an executive order banning citizens of seven countries from entering the United States. Now a naturalized US citizen, educator and PhD student Nisrin shares her story, including her experience from that night of interrogations, body searches, confused immigration agents, and utter uncertainty as to what was going to happen to her.
Actor Bambadjan Bamba, from the Marvel film Black Panther and NBC's The Good Place, shares his story of arriving from the Ivory Coast as a child, learning to "be American" by watching television, discovering that he was an undocumented immigrant, the positive impact on his life of having DACA, his love of hip hop, how becoming a father taught him to be selfless, what Hollywood can do to stand with immigrants, and the need for a real and permanent solution for Dreamers.
DACA recipients and UC Davis students Deniss, Divine, Roy and Oswaldo chat with Andrea Gaytan, director of the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center about the complexity of the immigration system, the problematics of the term "Dreamer," what having DACA and what the end of DACA means for each of them, and what they hope for in a solution for hundreds of thousands of people like them and for families like theirs.
Oswaldo is a poet, a student and a DACA recipient who worked in the corn fields to pay his way through community college, and who found his voice as as a scholar and as an activist through his art and through reflection on his own experience as a queer and undocumented young man in the United States.
Divine shares her journey of arriving from the Philippines at 11 years old, her struggles to further her studies, being the only undocumented person in her family, having a brother who voted for Trump, and the potential of sharing stories to change people’s minds.
Roy, a DACA recipient and UC Davis graduate student, talks about the silence in his family surrounding their migratory status, overcoming the challenges of being undocumented in his pursuit of higher education, and the importance of good mentors.
Deniss, a graduate student at University of California at Davis joins Andrea Gaytan of the AB540 & Undocumented Student Center to share her experience of growing up in a conservative part of California as undocumented, of reconnecting to her indigenous identity in college, and of finding strength in the joy and laughter of her community.
This podcast is a production of the Butterfly Story Collective, a network of local storytelling projects and events produced by immigrants and about the immigrant experience in the United States. Each week we will share new stories from storytellers across the country.