Littleton-based nonprofit to host workshop featuring immigrant voices

April 9 event to educate community about realities of immigration


Littleton-based nonprofit Immigrant Pathways Colorado will host a workshop at Arapahoe Community College (ACC) April 9 during which attendees can hear first-hand stories of the immigration journey from those who have experienced it. 

The event, Step into My Shoes: Conversation Circles about Immigration, will give community members the chance to "understand what immigration policies are in place and the effect they have on real people," said former Littleton Mayor Susan Thornton, who leads the nonprofit. 

Attendees will be seated at different tables in ACC's Half Moon Room, located on the west side of the first floor of the college's main building. Groups will hear a mix of perspectives from immigrants who are undocumented, who are seeking asylum, who are refugees and who struggle with their professional training not being accepeted for work in the U.S. 

Thornton said she hopes these conversations will help address misunderstandings of the arcane immigration system.

“People say ‘why don’t they come here legally?’ Well there are lines you have to get into, and there are some lines that are 20 years long,” Thornton said. “They are here, they are part of us and we need to find ways to understand and welcome them."

The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and tickets will be on a first-come-first-serve basis, according to Thornton.

Tickets are $35 for the general public and $30 for ACC students and staff and include a breakfast burrito and materials for the event. Parking is free.

Thornton has a long history of advocacy for immigrant communities. Her nonprofit has awarded more than $100,000 in grants to immigrants throughout Colorado since it began giving money in 2010. 

Thornton has also has been a strong advocate for the future of the Littleton Immigrant Resources Center, which offers low-cost civics and English lessons, test preparation and legal aid to documented immigrants but was set to be defunded by a previous city council

Thornton called the move a "major mistake” and joined 12 former Littleton mayors and council members in sending a letter to the council praising the center and urging members to reconsider their vote.

Newer council members elected in November led a push for council to restore the center's funding to pre-pandemic levels, which they did in a 5-2 vote March 1

For Thornton, there will always be a need for more immigrant support.  

“We’ve got to reach out to these people and if we don’t reach out we risk being a divided ‘we versus they’ community,” she said. “Almost all of us are children of immigrants.”

You can click here to register for the event.


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