All social change starts with changes in ourselves and our own thoughts and behaviors. There are lots of little things we can do to be an example to our children and our neighbors of the kind of citizens and society we want to be. Review Possible Actions, Resources and Additional Suggestions below.
- Talk to immigrants
- Speak up when people say things that are uninformed
- Tell a friend or neighbor about what you learned today
- Tell people about the NIRV films
- Organize a Screen & Discuss event
- Share the stories you learned (see sample text and images below)
- Get involved in immigrant issues
- Donate or volunteer at a local organization (or to CSFilm!)
- Help people learn the facts
Descriptions and Excerpts of the NIRV films – a great page to introduce people to the films.
Neighbors: One of the best ways to share the films is to organize a NIRV Screen&Discuss event in your community! And, share the idea with friends and family around the country, especially in our target regions.
Use a film screening as a way to engage those that are resistant to new immigrants and refugees. Contact those in more conservative social, religious and fraternal groups and ask for their participation. We need to listen to learn.
Legislators: If you have connections with local or national legislators, collaborate with us to organize policy-related briefings like we did for the Afghan films, at the national or state level.
Diversity & Inclusion Officers: If you or anyone you know works for an organization (company, university, etc.) with a Diversity & Inclusion Officer, take the NIRV Screen&Discuss idea to them or put us in touch. The NIRV films are a great tool to help their staff learn about and to respect cultural differences.
Educators: School teachers are often working with children from many different cultures and backgrounds. The NIRV films provide rare insight into the home life of a diversity of cultures. Teachers and Principals have found that the ‘lived-reality’ experiential content of the NIRV films increases their awareness and sensitivity to their students and their families.
Students: The NIRV films address many themes that are discussed in high school civics classes and university programs ranging from public policy and political science, to sociology and human services, to the media and bias – as detailed in our Teaching Resources. Please put us in touch with or put these films in the hands of educators.
Please call or email us at +1 (857) 415-0564 or info [at] csfilm dot org with Screen&Discuss ideas or questions.
Share on Social Media or Email: If you want to share about the NIRV films, here is an image (click to view and then right-click to save) and some sample text and that you can modify or send as is:
“I just attended a New Immigrant and Refugee Visions Screen & Discuss event where we watched a couple of immigrant-produced films that show the lived experience of immigrants in ways rarely seen in mainstream media. It was followed by a great discussion with the audience and the filmmakers that really opened my eyes to some things and motivated me to take some actions in my own life. Check out this project of Community Supported Film: https://csfilm.org/nirv/.”
Libraries are a great place to start! Many libraries have English language classes or conversation groups. You may be able to help with these activities. Interacting with immigrants in situations like these provide a great way to learn about their needs, what local organizations are helping them and how you can get further involved.
Groups working with immigrants: Usually your city or state will have an office for immigrants and refugees. Most of these offices usually have a resources, organizations, or directory page that includes a listing many of the organizations in your area (example: Boston Office of Immigrant Advancement has an Immigrant Resources Directory; Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants has a Community Partner’s Directory). Usually these are only partial lists. A web search for “[city] immigrant organization” will usually turn up lots more. Be sure to check with churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious groups. Many of them often have committees specifically focused on immigrant issues.
Groups working to restrict immigration: Most often these groups use the phrase “immigration reform” and/or focus on existing or proposed legislation. With all due respect to these organizations, the easiest way to find these organizations seemed to be to search for “organizations against immigration.” The Los Angeles Times article below includes the names of many of them.
- Opponents of legal immigration hope their ties to Jeff Sessions will influence Trump (Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2017)
Knowing the facts: See the Myths section for resources to learn facts, opinions and priorities.
Support Community Supported Film. The NIRV project is entirely supported by individual donations. We encourage you to be a part of the community in Community Supported Film. Many of you said you would donate to worthy organizations supporting immigrants and refugees. See details about the impact of your support.
Support local, regional and national immigrant and refugee services and advocacy organizations. In addition to offering your support to CSFilm, we encourage you to support immigrant and refugee groups and the organizations referenced in this resource guide and in your local community.
A number of you have asked for reading lists about immigrants, refugees and immigration policy. These reputable sources seem like great places to start. The London School of Economics list is for the more academically/policy-oriented readers, and the Somerville Public Library list is focused on books for children and teens.
- Bookshop Santa Cruz: Immigration Project Recommended Reading List – Bookshop Santa Cruz and the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County Immigration Project(SSCIP) worked together to curate a recommended reading list which features some of the most accessible and influential books that educate and inspire action on issues related to immigration in the USA.
- Smithsonian’s American History Museum: “Six books to read about the history of immigration in America” – curated list of books by American History Museum staff.
- London School of Economics Review of Books: 12 Recommended Reads on Immigration, Refugee Rights and Asylum – Not US specific, more academic and policy focused.
- Somerville Public Library: Annotated Reading List for Children and Teens: Immigration and Migration – picture books, chapter books, books for teens
- Multnomah Count Library: The Human Face of the Immigration Debate – staff picks
- Goodreads: Immigration Book Lists – Un-curated, user compiled lists include: Immigrant Experience Literature, Books White People Need to Read, Diverse Voices, Identity & Society, Making Peace Between Tribalism and Globalization, etc.
Social Change Resources
Welcoming America is one of CSFilm’s national parterns for the “Get-the-NIRV” Screen&Discuss Campaign. Welcoming America’s Resource Library has lots of great toolkits and guides, including:
- Neighbors Together – “This toolkit provides promising practices to counter anti-refugee and anti-Muslim backlash and work towards a positive vision for our communities. These promising practices demonstrate how: building meaningful contact between diverse populations; positive communications strategies; and engaging civic and community leaders can help create a climate in which all people can thrive.”
- Stand Together – “This guide was created for advocates, service providers, and supporters as a tool to address the backlash toward refugees and Muslim Americans, and to help you proactively engage with community leaders and neighbors. Through the messages, sample conversations, story ideas, and worksheets in this toolkit, we will help you develop straightforward yet persuasive language to use in the spoken or written communications to support the needs of your whole community, including immigrants, refugees, and Muslim Americans. In places where leaders are actively trying to limit the movement, freedom, and faith practices of your neighbors, these messages can be helpful in pushing back on negative stereotypes and reaffirming your shared values as a community.”
- Citizenship Strategies to Create Welcoming Communities – “This toolkit was developed by Welcoming America and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the lead organization of the New Americans Campaign, to provide promising practices and suggestions to engage receiving communities at the intersection of citizenship and welcoming work.”
- Seeds of Growth – “Is your community harnessing the potential of immigrant entrepreneurs to spur economic growth and job creation? This tool will introduce you to practical ways to leverage the opportunities that exist when you include immigrant entrepreneurs in local economic development strategies and programs.”
The Community Tool Box is a project of the Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas and contains a wealth of free information and toolkits for those working to bring about social change, regardless of the issue.
- Chapter 33: Conducting a Direct Action Campaign includes lots of detailed guidance about everything from writing letters to elected officials and media editors to organizing demonstrations and using social media.
If you want to create a more welcoming space for immigrants, even the littlest things can make a difference, like smiling and saying hello to people or putting a sign in your yard that lets all people know that they are welcome.