Poetry readings took place in about 45 cities across the United States Wednesday night to raise money for immigrants in need. Local poets gathered in South Bend to participate.
Local writers read poems about their parents journey to the United States, the current situation at the U.S. border, and their own migration experiences.
This was all part of the national Writers for Migrant Justice campaign which was started to raise money for a nonprofit called Immigrant Families Together. The organization provides legal representation, medical services, housing, food, and clothing to immigrants in need.
Francisco Aragón is a faculty member at Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies. He also organized the local Writers for Migrant Justice event.
Aragón said it made sense for South Bend to participate so the City’s Latino community could be represented.
“I think that if we are really honest with ourselves, we would agree that the immigrant history of our country is one that’s worth being aware of and supporting,” he said.
A history that people like Misael Osorio-Conde are a part of. Osorio-Conde is an undocumented student at the University of Notre Dame. He read his own poem titled “Detention Center.”
He said poetry is the perfect catalyst to start difficult conversations about things like the country’s immigration system.
“Poetry has the ability to reach people in ways that another medium will not. It’s more spiritual in a way,” he said.
Alexandra Calleros agreed.
“Instead of using violence or riots, poetry is a gentle way of addressing something as important as this,” she said.
Calleros is a third-year student at Saint Mary’s College. She grew up listening to her father’s story of running across the border from Mexico into the United States.
“We all come from somewhere. We’ve all migrated at some point and so it’s important to resonate with that and understand that it easily could have been you in this situation that the latinos are now experiencing,” she said.
A total of 20 poets spoke during Wednesday night's event.