Humanizing the stories of migrants and inspiring students in Spanish 107

Thursday, Apr 29, 2021

By Iris Hauser

“And following everything that I’ve done with my [activism] work… I’ve realized that I have a voice and I can see changes happening. I can face the beasts. I have that privilege…” -Fabiola Mendieta, activist

Pablo Domínguez, lecturer at Dartmouth College, returned to Princeton for a virtual class visit in SPA 107 to discuss the Ecologies of Migrant Care initiative.

Through the eyes of Professor Domínguez, students were given an opportunity to see the journey that migrant families go through each year on the migration route linking Central America to the United States and Canada.

Virtual class visit in SPA 107 with Pablo Dominguez

During the conversation, Professor Domínguez shared the testimonies, stories, and experiences of those who migrate, flee or seek refuge, as well as the lifesaving work of people and organizations that provide aid to those in transit. This includes migrant shelters, soup kitchens, parishes, centers for displaced migrants, and sanctuaries.

Throughout the semester, students in SPA 107 learned particularly about the work of Las Patronas, a group of inspiring Mexican women that provide food, water, and medical help to those who ride La Bestia; Fray tomás González, who provides care and refuge for LGBTQ migrants through the migrant center "La 72"; and the extraordinary work of Father Solalinde, who leads the refuge “Hermanos en el Camino”. Students had the privilege to hear the powerful testimonies of Jerson Girón Ramírez, a Honduran LGBT activist and refugee; and lifelong activist Fabiola Mendieta, who has worked around issues of human trafficking, domestic violence, ICE abuse, and traffic violence, both in Mexico and in the United States.

At the end of the conversation, students were eager to pose questions such as “What can we do to help?” and “How can we get involved?” Professor Domínguez shared some strategies and names of organizations to take an active approach in the migration phenomenon, but concluded by saying that while reading publications about migration can be helpful, there is nothing more powerful and life-changing than listening to the testimony of migrants to feel inspired to make a change.

This semester, SPA 107 was taught by Iris Hauser, Jonathan Aguirre, Anna Alsina, Jeannie Byrne and Perla Massi.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect Pablo Domínguez's title as a lecturer. An earlier version stated "visiting professor."