This book is a compilation of immigration stories from students at Oakland International High School. The stories have been used as "texts" for middle school students at several local schools who are studying the causes and effects of immigration. Several of the stories have also been used with Cal Berkeley undergrad and grad programs dealing with immigration, education, and sociology. The drawings are lovely and their stories depict the amazing journeys immigrants take to reach our land of opportunity.
I couldn't put We Are Oakland International down until the end, so deeply was I engaged in the stories of these high schoolers coming to Oakland from all over the world. In addition to the profound dislocation experienced by anyone radically shifting their context, most of these young people have come to the US under very difficult circumstances, fleeing war, violence, economic deprivation, natural disaster... That they have survived and are hopeful is nothing less than remarkable. And terribly humbling. The abundance and security in which most of us live is too often taken for granted. These stories remind me that those are not GIVENS in this world, but are GIFTS, gifts to be recognized, appreciated, cared for, and shared.
The courage and perseverance of the young people is to be celebrated. The work of those enabling these young people should not be overlooked, however. Throughout the stories I see the essential roles played by NGO and public sector professionals, supporting and enabling these young people to find their ways into healthy, productive, self-sufficient citizenship.
This is a reminder of what we're here for, and that despite the front page news, day after day, there is much good being done, and that our efforts, votes, tax dollars, charitable dollars, and general moral support make a difference. A big difference.
This book is a wonderful compilation of stories, of fragments of children's lives. Its simplicity and authenticity make it a very precious book. The stories are simple and moving and the drawings are fabulous. The work done by Oakland International High School is outstanding and this book is one expression of it.