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Center for Human Rights - Celebrating 15 Years! Students • Partners • Research

Spring Symposium and Award Celebration: Esta es mi historia // This is my story

June 24, 2024

On Thursday, May 16th, 2024, the UW Center for Human Rights hosted our annual Spring Symposium and Awards Celebration, bringing together students, faculty, organizational partners, and the UWCHR broader community to highlight the impact of UWCHR collaborations and celebrate our students.

Alongside celebrating UWCHR’s 15th anniversary, this year’s event featured a storytelling project collaboration between UW students, immigrant rights group La Resistencia, and Hinton Publishing, showcasing stories of people held in deportation proceedings in Washington state.  

Every year we start off with the honor of highlighting the next round of UWCHR student fund recipients who are engaging in human rights research and projects. Learn more about the 2024 UWCHR student fund recipients here.

 

2024 Student Fund Recipients at the Spring Symposium. Pictured from left to right: Marielle Marcaida, Saad Khan, Mayra Muratalla Muñoz, Carlos Yañez Navarro, Marissa Olivares Morales, Sofia Torres, Lola Burton, and Isaac Sanders. Photo credit/Nate Gowdy.

 

We’re lucky to work with the best students across all of UWCHR projects and our spring event is an opportunity to celebrate all of our student researchers.

A few of our UWCHR student researchers at the spring event, pictured left to right: Thor Belle, Nicole Grabiel, Carlos Yañez Navarro, Andrew Shaw, and Jinie Chon. Not pictured: Guadalupe Alex Gonzalez, Priya Hendry, Kimberly Chen, Katherine Chen, and Alex Chuang. Photo credit/Nate Gowdy.

 

The evening’s events were covered by the UW Daily’s Lindsay Kim. Read the article below, originally posted here.

 

UW Center for Human Rights hosts annual Spring Symposium
By Lindsay Kim

On May 16, the UW Center for Human Rights (UWCHR) hosted its annual Spring Symposium at the HUB. The event featured a collaboration between UW students, the immigrant rights group La Resistencia, and Hinton Publishing. This year’s theme, “ESTA ES MI HISTORIA” (“THIS IS MY STORY”), aimed to amplify the voices of individuals in deportation proceedings in Washington state.

The evening featured speakers, award presentations, and an introduction of the collaboration across the different organizations. Readings of stories co-created by students and individuals affected by deportation were central to the program, highlighting the personal experiences of immigrants facing deportation.

Throughout the academic year, the event’s planning team [Correction: the event was planned by UWCHR staff, the 17 students involved in the project over the academic year were featured at the event], led by 17 UW students, met with individuals set to be deported through Boeing Field.

“These aren’t stories of victimization, though that’s undeniably a part of what people experience,” Angelina Godoy, professor in the law, societies, and justice department and the Jackson School of International Studies, said. “We didn’t set out to interview these folks or to investigate their cases. Rather, we set out to sit with them, listen to them, and learn from them. And in doing so, to help shepherd their stories onto the page, and to share them with everyone else in King County and beyond.”

The project is the result of months of work. According to Godoy, all three partners are creating an online archive of these stories, with plans to publish a book once the compilation process is complete.

“When we first came to UW, it was just such a beautiful community that had been built in that classroom,” Maggie Block, deputy publisher at Hinton Publishing said. “You could tell how deeply the care each student had for each other was. We were able to dive into some really deep issues but also make each other laugh a lot. It was just such a joy to be invited into it. Getting to know the young people who are part of that class at UW has been the highlight of this work.”

Keira Henson,a third-year student speaker, expressed the responsibility and excitement of representing someone else’s story.

“It’s a little nervous to have to speak for someone else, but it’s been really exciting because we’ve collected a lot of stories,” Henson said. “I want people to understand who this person is and what they want to say.”

Rufina Reyesand Liliana Chumpitasi, leaders of the immigrant activist group La Resistencia, discussed the efforts against detention and deportations in Washington state, calling for community support and the amplification of the voices of those affected.

“There’s a real beauty to being in a community with folks,” Godoy said. “I don’t love public speaking, but I feel good to reach the end of it and feel the love of other people in the room is very powerful.”

The stories shared at the symposium highlighted the broader implications of immigration policies and detention practices. Block highlighted the power of storytelling in bridging the gap between disparate experiences, fostering a sense of shared humanity, and driving meaningful social change.

“What I hope that people can gain from reading these stories is just hearing stories of other people who they find common ground with,” Block said. “We want them to see how similar we all are and understand the heartbreak of those affected by deportation.”

 

Please enjoy some more photos from the event, photo credit/Nate Gowdy: