SURJ Screen&Discuss Brunch brings organizers together around films

October 6, 2020

Showing-Up-for-Racial-Justice (SURJ-Boston) and CSFilm collaborated for a virtual Screen&Discuss event on Sunday, October 4 that attracted over 50 people and brought together NIRV filmmakers and film subjects as well as MA and NY-based organizers for a discussion about the impact on immigrants and refugees of race relations, the current administration’s policies and budget cuts, and COVID.

The discussion was informed by the voices of Abdirahman Abdi (Worlds Apart at Home), Annabelle (She’s an American Child) and Rahmatullah Aka (Seeking Settled Ground) as well as local organizers Tania Erlij (BIJAN), Doris Landaverde (Mass TPS), Valeria Do Vale (Student Immigrant Movement) and Tony Alarcon (Make the Road NY).

Below you can find the full recording of the event as well as selected excerpts and comments from the audience.

“I’ve never been more afraid for the women in my community.”

– Abdirahman Abdi, Somali refugee and director of Worlds Apart at Home

“We don’t want history to repeat itself.”

– Tony Alarcon, Organizer at Make the Road NY

“I really appreciated these films and the work that went into them. I have always believed that storytelling is the most powerful way to begin to understand others and their backgrounds, and [these] documentary [films] have just proved that to me even more.”

“We need more advocacy and films like these to raise awareness.”

– Rahmatullah Aka, Community Services Manager at International Institute of New England

“I’ve spent $700 to $1000…in [annual] filing fees [related to my DACA status].”

Annabelle, DACA recipient and film subject of She’s an American Child

“In addition to many things, I learned just how much of a financial strain it is to become an immigrant here, particularly for DACA recipients [who]…must file every year and pay filing fees… In regard to Mohammad Anwar’s story…the discussion he had with his [case worker] at the International Institute of New England [shed light on the]…costs associated with coming here as a refugee.”

“400 families face the risk of separation.”

– Doris Landaverde, Committee Member at Massachusetts TPS Committee

“We sometimes forget how much change we can create at the local level.”

– Valeria Do Vale, Lead Coordinator at Student Immigrant Movement

Here is the full version of the event:

Here is information from the organizers about ways to get involved:

Tania Erlij, BIJAN
If you would like to join BIJAN as a volunteer please sign up at If folks want to get involved in attending action circles and after getting involved in planning them with our collaborative or with their own organization, they can reach out to our google group at There is also the #FreeHerFridays campaign that we’re supporting through our relationship with the People Not Prisons Coalition and Families for Justice as Healing. To get involved in advocacy calls, writing letters to the editor, etc. to support policy changes endorsed by currently and formerly incarcerated women in our community, visit for new calls to action.

Doris Landaverde, Massachusetts TPS Committee
Please call congress to pass a legislation name H.R.6 to protect DACA and TPS (temporary protected status);;; Documentary: The Last Dream

Valeria Do Vale, Student Immigrant Movement
For our youth to continue the work they do, we depend on your financial support, and encourage you to reach out to talk about other non-financial ways you can also support. To donate please visit, and to connect and learn about our various efforts contact me at (Our website is under construction, please visit our social media platforms.)

Tony Alarcon, Make the Road NY

Related Posts:

Screen&Discuss Event at Community Church of Boston: New Immigrant and Refugee Visions

Screen&Discuss Event at Community Church of Boston: New Immigrant and Refugee Visions

What was emphasized during the discussion is that it is up to those that believe in the US as a nation of immigrants, to counter the lies and misinformation that is permeating the current dialogue about new immigrants and refugees in the US. It is incumbent on all of us to speak out against xenophobia and hatred toward the newest members of our communities.


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