Welcome to Shelbyville

September 24, 2010 at 10:57 AM | Posted in Advocacy, Community, Film, Media | Leave a comment
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On September 15th, I went to an early screening of the film documentary “Welcome to Shelbyville” at the Brookings Institution, hosted by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI).  The documentary is the tale of a small town in Tennessee grappling with growing pains as their community becomes more and more diverse.  When the film is released on PBS in the spring of 2011, I highly recommend watching it.

I find that living in the already widely diverse metropolitan DC area, it is easy to forget that immigrants are a new occurrence for many smaller communities throughout the United States.  As I watched the film, I couldn’t help feeling empathy for the new immigrants in Shelbyville and I wished there was more I could do to make them feel welcome.  There were several scenes in the film that took place in adult ESOL classrooms and it reminded me very much of the classes offered here at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and it got me thinking …

While our classes start up this week and next, what do you do to make our students feel welcome?  How do you showcase diversity as a positive feature in our communities?  Please share your thoughts in the comments field below.

-Erin Finn, Director of Classrom Programs

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