Spring 2020

The spring of 2020 brought fear, death and grief to hundreds of thousands across the globe. In the few months that my students and I were getting to know immigrants and refugees, more than 400,000 people died of the coronavirus pandemic. More than ¼ of them died in the U.S.

As we were meeting for the first times in early April, we decided to focus our reporting on the pandemic’s effect on different immigrant and refugee communities. So many Good Questions can use exploration, so we set out to answer some of them.

What we came to realize is that one of the potential effects of a global pandemic is to recognize that the experiences of migration and decisions about cross-national travel may pull the U.S., willingly or not, out of its exceptionalist posture and into a more cooperative arena. We shall see.

Here are our stories on how the COVID-19 pandemic has effected different immigrant and refugee communities:

How have Chinese students handled what to do as the spread of COVID-19 limited their options to return to China? By Connie Deng 

Are people turning to traditional Chinese medicine during the coronavirus pandemic? By Lydia Rivers

How have Korean Americans prepared for COVID-19?  By Chloe Jeonghyun Heo

How have Indian grocery stores been impacted by COVID-19? By Rachel Baldauf

How have African refugees coped with COVID-19?  By Michael Fitzpatrick

How did COVID-19 affect Ramadan celebrations in the Arab American community around Dearborn, Michigan? By Bailey Pekar


In the process of doing the series on COVID-19, we encountered a couple of extraordinary people you should know:

Glo Harn Choi: Pathways to citizenship for the undocumented can come slowly,  and surely, with collective action  By Chloe Jeonghyun Heo

Mamadul Hasson: A Rohingya retells his traumatic journeys to freedom that still haunt him  By Jason Harward

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The student reporters wanted you to know something about themselves and their inspiration for investing in reporting on immigrants unlike themselves. The stories are captured here and on the Immigrant Connect staff page:

Svati returns the favor years later By Rachel Baldauf

My mother and I break a Chinese taboo and emerge with unconditional love By Connie Deng

The life of a refugee is nothing like my life By Michael Fitzpatrick

A snip, snip, here and some family history there By Jason Harward

I realize what it means to choose citizenship – US or Korean By Chloe Jeonghyun Heo

Grandfather Gaioni’s love for cooking and food are the ties to Italy that bind By Bailey Pekar

Savta shows me that tradition doesn’t stagnate By Ash Ravid

My mother lived like an Ethiopian princess and left it all behind By Lydia Rivers

Ignorance or innocence? The dragons of South Africa are the real Africa to me By Channing Russell

Instructions for death can be a Chamorro woman’s expression of life fully lived By Imani Sumbi

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Fall 2019

Our array of stories

In the fall of 2019, months after the attention on separated immigrant children at the border had gravitated to Ukraine and impeachment hearings, we continued to report on the lives of immigrants and refugees in Chicago and beyond who were coping with policies and practices that had seeped into American society and narratives:

The march for DACA embeds memories and commits to change the narrative  By Hannah Gonzalez

Chicago’s Welcoming Ordinance is welcoming…to a point  By Nathan Ansell

New generation of Syrian immigrants find their place in the U.S.  By Sophie Kobylinski

California fires leave immigrant communities stranded  By Gabrielle Rabon

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There were questions seeking answers that we addressed. We posted them in our section Good Question:

What does it take for immigrants to start their own businesses? By Sophie Kobylinski

How does service in the armed forces change immigrants’ paths to citizenship? / Immigrant veterans should read here how to apply for citizenship. Warning: It’s not easy By Gabrielle Rabon

How has Cuban immigration changed since the cessation of the Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy? By Hannah Gonzalez

Are there differences in cultural identities between Mexicans who came to the US years ago and those who’ve come since the Cold War? By Nathan Ansell

Did former President Obama abandon the Syrian people? If so, when, and how do Syrians here feel about it? By Lucio Vainesman

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Our student reporters wanted you to know something about them and the roots for their investment in reporting on immigrants unlike themselves. The stories are captured here  and on the Immigrant Connect staff page:

I get a hint of my British-Jewish heritage by By Nathan Ansell

My papa may not tell me much about his Argentine youth, but there’s always football  By Lucio Vainesman

Will Iranian roots survive another generation? By Sophie Kobylinski

It can be suffocating in the land of opportunity By Gabrielle Rabon

I’ve got a golden ticket… but I don’t need it  By Hannah Gonzalez

 

 

Let the negotiations begin

Immigrant Connect Chicago is an online network for immigrants, refugees, their families and their communities.

Family

Back Home

Identity

Work, Jobs and Money

The Migration

Culture Shock

Good Question

Fearing the Law

Learning the Language

Problems With Papers

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Finding triumph for Chicago's refugees Education dream of immigrants more than an Act Celebrating Chicago's refugees

Immigrant Connect Chicago is an online network for immigrants, refugees, their families and their communities.

Family

How did COVID-19 affect Ramadan celebrations in the Arab American community around Dearborn, Michigan?

By Bailey Pekar, Medill, Immigrant Connect For Manar Kodamah, celebrating Ramadan in quarantine “doesn’t have the same spirit” that she’s used to feeling. Usually, celebrating Ramadan is marked as a time of togetherness when Kodamah’s extended family and friends...

Back Home

How have Korean Americans prepared for COVID-19?

By Chloe Jeonghyun Heo, Medill, Immigrant Connect At the beginning of April, KANU (Koreans Association at Northwestern University) distributed disposable masks to anyone who applied for one. “[At that time], a lot of Koreans were going back to Korea,” said an...

Identity

Chinese-Americans are shedding their cultural reservations

By Victoria Lee and Michael Zhou, Medill, Immigrant Connect Before going to her first internship last summer, Lily Shan’s parents stressed how important it was for her to do her work well. They advised her to be dedicated to her tasks because they felt excellent work...

Work, Jobs and Money

Chinese-Americans are shedding their cultural reservations

By Victoria Lee and Michael Zhou, Medill, Immigrant Connect Before going to her first internship last summer, Lily Shan’s parents stressed how important it was for her to do her work well. They advised her to be dedicated to her tasks because they felt excellent work...

The Migration

Mamudul Hasson: A Rohingya retells his traumatic journeys to freedom that still haunt him

Jason Harward, Medill, Immigrant Connect Mamudul Hasson thinks of himself as a survivor. A Rohingya born in the western region of Myanmar (Burma), he fled his home country at 16 and lived as an international refugee for six years before coming to the United States in...

Culture Shock

How did COVID-19 affect Ramadan celebrations in the Arab American community around Dearborn, Michigan?

By Bailey Pekar, Medill, Immigrant Connect For Manar Kodamah, celebrating Ramadan in quarantine “doesn’t have the same spirit” that she’s used to feeling. Usually, celebrating Ramadan is marked as a time of togetherness when Kodamah’s extended family and friends...

Good Question

How have African refugees coped with COVID-19?

By Michael Fitzpatrick, Medill, Immigrant Connect Fear and uncertainty come naturally to Chutmagai Bul Ayual. Ayual spent 13 years walking across Africa and in refugee camps. The scarring experiences left Ayual in a position to confront almost anything. The Covid-19...

Fearing the Law

Coronavirus leaves immigrants trapped in a byzantine court system

By By Stephen Franklin, Steve Bey, Catherine Kim, Areeba Shah, Shreya Bansal, LaTesha Harris, Wanying Zhao and Kari Lydersen [Story originally published on April 22, 2020, in The Reader. Click here to go to the original story.] In a small courtroom on the third floor...

Learning the Language

My mother is an artist

By Sian Shin, Medill, Immigrant Connect I’m sitting at the kitchen table with my ESL homework laid out in front of me when my mother walks in and tosses something on the table. It’s my mother’s art portfolio, featuring her best artwork throughout her career. I look up...

Problems With Papers

Glo Harn Choi: Pathways to citizenship for the undocumented can come slowly, and surely, with collective action

By Chloe Jeonghyun Heo, Medill, Immigrant Connect When Glo Harn Choi turned 21, he lost his dependent visa to stay in the U.S. No need to enjoy his new status to be able to legally drink. He wasn’t celebrating. Choi came to the US at the age of four with his family...

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