Maine Currents 8/4/20: Immigrant Experiences in Maine Schools

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine recently hosted a panel discussion on the Immigrant Experience in Maine Schools. Several people who came to Maine from other countries as children spoke about their experiences in the schools here. While they are mostly from the Portland and Lewiston areas, the experiences they shared are important for all of us who want to be part of a welcoming community. The moderator was Shenna Bellows, Executive Director of the HHRC, in addition to her work as a State Senator. The panel was recorded via zoom, and lightly edited. Our thanks to the Holocaust and Human Rights Center for making this, as well as a video of the event available to WERU listeners

Saharla Farah is a rising sophomore at Emmanuel College, having graduated from Deering High School in 2019 and serving two terms as the student representative on Portland’s Board of Education.

Safiya Khalid serves as a Lewiston city councilor and works as the community coordinator for Gateway Community Services. Safiya and her family left Somalia when she was 7 years old and settled in Lewiston after spending a few months in New Jersey. After high school, she received her degree psychology from the University of Southern Maine.

Hawo Mohamed is the Greater Portland Restorative Coordinator. She was born in Kenya and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1995, settling in Portland, Maine. Since then, she has called Maine her home. Hawo has had a great interest in social justice since high school, where she organized her fellow classmates to participate in the first school-wide protest against police brutality in 2012, shortly after the death of Trayvon Martin.

Mohamad Nur was born and raised in Portland, Maine as the son of Somali refugees. He is an alum of Portland Public Schools and graduated from Bowdoin College with a double major in government & legal studies and Africana studies, with a minor in education. He is the legislative director for the Maine People’s Alliance.

About the host:
Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices and Maine Currents, she also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and the First Place 2017 Radio News Award from the Maine Association of Broadcasters.