This past week's meeting was a discussion on Immigration, but more specifically a focus on recent current events on the U.S.Mexico border. The meeting began with a speed dating exercise. Members only had thirty seconds to answer one of the prompts presented to them. The goal was to get people to become comfortable with sharing their experiences with new people. This is something that Futures encourages for their members since we have many thought provoking discussions.
Following the exercise, there was a short presentation on terminology and background facts and figures on undocumented immigration. The purpose of this was to make sure everyone at the very least had the same sort of background knowledge. Following the presentation, the members were broken up into small groups. Questions were projected on the board that focused on the a wide range of issues within the umbrella of undocumented immigration. Small group discussions are more personal and help get members to get to know each other, especially in relation to the topics at large. The floor was then opened for a large group discussion that involved everyone in the room. A productive conversation ensued based off of the opposing and supporting ideas conveyed by members. Given current events, many members had a lot to say and were extremely passionate when expressing their opinions and experiences. This was a great discussion and we look forward to continuing the conversation outside of the meeting.
Rounding out the nights meeting was a spiel by Ithaca College senior Alex Sgobbo. He spoke on his experience working with undocumented immigrants on a co-op farm. He also presented information on the harsh conditions and non-benefits that these types of people experience. As a result, he introduced the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. This program promotes human rights and fair treatment of farm workers. It involves big supermarkets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's but not Publix: which is the biggest supermarket chain in the south.The spiel shared by Alex benefited not only those who live these experiences but also for us, the youth.