Bi-Co Students Help Spread Awareness About The Migration Experience
Ellie Keating ‘23, Diana Varenik ‘22, and Fabiola Martinez BMC ‘23 are interning at Mexico City’s Casa Refugiados to raise awareness on the struggles of migrants seeking asylum in the United States.
This summer, Ellie Keating ‘23, Diana Varenik ‘22, and Fabiola Martinez BMC ‘23 are advocating for the rights of migrants. Supported by the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, the team is working with Casa Refugiados to spread awareness about the truth of the migration experience. Casa Refugiados (PCR) is a nonprofit organization in Mexico City that aims to increase awareness of the violence targeting refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers and support them through education programs, legal services, and panels that encourage peaceful coexistence.
Working remotely, Keating, Varenik, and Martinez produce materials to boost Casa Refugiados’ social media presence. Creating posts and infographics, they share content on topics such as peace, human rights, sustainability, social justice, and global citizenship. They also help host workshops for college students on the experience of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers.
Each member of the group works on their own independent project as well. Keating is creating a directory of 60 organizations and churches that Casa Refugiados should connect with. “The directory will have listed where each organization is located, how to contact them, how their work connects to Casa Refugiados, and possible opportunities for collaboration,” she explained. “I have had several meetings with people at Casa Refugiados to discuss proper terminology, how to present the organization when meeting with others, what exactly they are looking for in partnering with other groups, etc. A few examples of the groups involved are HIAS, Planned Parenthood, and World Relief Corporation.” Varenik’s independent work involves compiling materials on refugees to create reading lists for future workshops.
Working for Casa Refugiados has allowed the group to practice their language skills by translating material from Spanish and helping the PCR representatives lead workshops in English. “I have been able to understand what others are saying fairly well, but I struggle to respond back in real-time without stuttering or planning in my head beforehand what I will say,” said Keating, a political science major and Spanish and environmental studies double minor. “However, I have definitely gotten better at this as the internship has progressed and do believe it is helping me develop stronger Spanish skills.”
Above all else, the group values the opportunity to do meaningful work about some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
“Through providing aid to people in vulnerable conditions—which is an opportunity much more so than a burden—we can bring together a diverse range of people and prioritize fairness and inclusion,” said Keating. “I believe we must value difference as much as sameness and encourage communal interdependence; diversity benefits not only those who are underrepresented, but also those in power in that they are exposed to different possibilities and new experiences.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.