Events Calendar

Saturday, February 19 2022

February 18, 2022 - 7:00pm - February 20, 2022 - 4:00pm

This year, HOME is sponsoring two films in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Festival of Films in French. The films are being screened at the UWM Union Theatre, 2200 East Kenwood Boulevard, Milwaukee, WI 53211 and admission is free.

For complete information on the festival: https://uwm.edu/french-film-festival/

Atlantique

Friday, February 18, 2022 - 7pm
Sunday, February 20, 2022 - 4pm

Atlantique (Atlantics)
Grand Prix, 2019 Cannes Festival
Mati Diop, DCP, 105 min
France/Senegal/Belgium, 2019 (Wolof, French)
Milwaukee premiere
Along the Atlantic coast, in a suburb of Dakar, Ada and Souleiman are young and in love. But they face many obstacles. Souleiman is a construction worker, exploited by his unscrupulous billionaire boss, whereas Ada has been promised by her father to another man. One morning, Ada learns that Souleiman embarked on a journey to Europe with several of his co-workers. Days later, a fire breaks out during Ada’s wedding and there are claims that Souleiman has returned.

Talk-backs with Ermitte Saint Jacques (UWM Department of African and African Diaspora Studies): 2/18 & 2/20

IyaTunde

Sunday, February 20, 2022 - 2pm
Iya tundé, la mère est revenue (Iya Tundé, The Mother Came Back)
Laure Malécot, DCP, 52 min
Senegal, 2017 (French, Yoruba, Wolof)
Midwest Premiere
This film portrait pays homage to the doyenne of contemporary African dance, Germaine Acogny, as she turns 70. Documenting the life’s work of the Franco-Senegalese dancer-choreographer, whether at home at the Ecole des Sables, in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal, that she founded, leading master classes in Africa, Asia and Europe, or in performance, this film focuses on understanding her creative process and discovering her personal development and approach to life.

February 19, 2022 - 10:00am - 4:00pm

Photo: Molly Rosenblum/Sam LaStrapes/Kodah

Visitors must adhere to our social distance walking visitor guidelines.

Bring your canine friends for an afternoon of romping in the garden.

For 2023 dates, click here.

February 19, 2022 - 11:00am - 12:30pm

Virtual.
Registration: Free but advance registration is required. Click here to register.

The HOME Refugee Steering Committee continues its virtual HOME Conversations series in 2022 with HOME: Conversations on Forced Displacement. Each year we gather input from past participants as we plan the next series. At their request, our new format emphasizes both active dialogue and actionable steps. Each conversation will take place in two parts, with a virtual panel discussion on an aspect of forced displacement followed, a month later, by a small-group discussion about taking action. The series is moderated by HOME Refugee Steering Committee member Paul Vang.

HOME: Conversations on Forced Displacement will examine relevant issues in contemporary refugee resettlement at the local level and across the globe. We hope to engage community members in understanding specific refugee resettlement crises as well as the larger issues of forced displacement, including its various contexts, while also providing an opportunity for participants to learn how they can get involved in local, on-the-ground efforts to aid refugee families and communities as they resettle among us. As with all HOME Conversations, artists will be integral to our discussions and action plans, and we will be seeking ways to bring together diverse voices to forge solutions that extend beyond a specific refugee population.

About the Moderator | Paul Vang serves as the Civic Engagement Director at HAWA, the Hmong American Women’s Association. He is a former science educator and is passionate about helping to build power within the Southeast Asian community by engaging in conversations with people at their doors, hosting educational events that are open to the public, and educating elected officials on the Southeast Asian population here in Milwaukee.

Saturday, January 15, 2022 – 11 am-12:30 pm [Click here to watch a recording of this session.]
Saturday, February 19, 2022 – 11 am-12:30 pm
The Afghan Refugee Crisis

This first installment of the HOME Conversations will take a closer look at the Afghan refugee crisis from the vantage point of those intimately involved and directly impacted in the resettlement process here in Wisconsin and beyond. Our panelists will include Afghan artists and refugees, as well as local resettlement organizers, all of whom are working to navigate the effects of the refugee crisis in real time. In February, those who are interested can continue the discussion, sharing information on how individuals and groups can get involved and help in the resettlement efforts.

Recommended Readings
They fought for education in Afghanistan. Now in Milwaukee, these 9 young women hope to achieve the dreams they nearly lost, May 13, 2022, link
How Afghan Evacuees Have Enriched Wisconsin's Workforce Despite Barriers for Immigrant Labor, May 9, 2022, link
Milwaukee Welcomes Afghan Refugees, January 31, 2022, Shepherd Express, link
Afghan Women’s Rights Activist, Maryam Durani Settles in Milwaukee, January 13, 2022, Journal Sentinel, link
Afghan Refugees at Wisconsin’s Military Base Continue to Seek Housing, January 7, 2022, Voice of America (VOA) News, link
Torn Apart: Local Efforts to Help Afghan Refugees are Marked by Both Tears and Triumph, January 4, 2022, Madison Magazine, link
Afghan women have a long history of taking leadership and fighting for their rights, October 11, 2021, The Conversation, link
Afghan Art Flourished for 20 Years. Can It Survive the New Taliban Regime?, October 31, 2021, New York Times, link
After the withdrawal, U.S. museums need to tell a richer story about Afghanistan, September 3, 2021, Los Angeles Times, link
More than 40 House of Democrats Urge Treasury Department to Unfreeze Afghanistan’s Bank Reserves, link

About the Participants
Maryam Durani is an Afghan activist, an elected official and an internationally recognized advocate for the rights of Afghan women and girls. As a young adult, Durani served as a Kandahar Provincial Council Member twice for 14 years, and since her many years of council service, she has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights, firmly committed to building an inclusive and equitable society. She is the founder of the Kandahar Women Advocacy Network, in addition to leading Khadija Kobra Women's Association for Culture, the non-government organization that works to uphold women's rights in Afghanistan. A program under Khadija Kobra, she ran a women's health club and gym that garnered international attention. She managed Mirman Radio of Kandahar, the only local female-focused radio station, and is the founder of the Malalai Maiwandi Internet café, a free women's internet café that aims to connect women within a thriving environment and safe space, also the first of its kind in Afghanistan. She founded the House of Learning, an institute of modern studies for girls education free of cost. Durani studied business at the American University of Afghanistan, and read law and political science at Noor University.

Recognizing her important work and contribution to women's rights at a national and global scale, Durani is the recipient of many prestigious awards including the U.S. Secretary of State's Award for International Women of Courage, and was highlighted as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012, an honor that she shared with Russian democratic politician Alexei Navalny and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In 2013, she was one of 30 young activists recognized by the National Endowment for Democracy with support for her work to empower women to take on leadership roles, and in 2014, she received the Four Freedoms Medal for Freedom of Speech. In 2015, she received the International Peace Generation Award. She has received the Brave Woman Award from the State of Pennsylvania, the Women's Rights Protector Award from Washington, and an Iraq and Afghanistan Female Peace Activist Appreciation Letter from Turkey. She is considered both a leader and role model for women throughout Afghanistan, and despite facing regular threats on her life--including a suicide attack in 2009 that resulted in serious injury-- Durani is undeterred in her mission to promote basic civil rights for all Afghans. In 2021, she fled the ongoing humanitarian crisis and resettled to the United States with her family. She now lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Omaid Sharifi is a Curator, Artivist, President of ArtLords and Wartists, and a Harvard University Fellow. Sharifi is also a Millennium Leadership Fellow with Atlantic Council, Asia Society 21 and American Foreign Relations Council/Rumsfeld Fellow.

Khalid Naseri is an asylum-seeker from Afghanistan. Naseri worked with the U.S. Army in his homeland and came to the United States in 2017 through the Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans (SIV) program, not unlike the process of many Afghans during the ongoing humanitarian crisis in 2021, of which he has been an active and first-hand observer. He has been living and working in Madison, Wisconsin since his arrival, as a Dar and Pashto interpreter with Jewish Social Services (JSS) and Dane County. He is a grassroots volunteer and has been involved in various projects including the refugee-led Madison Refugee Union that aims at giving voice to Madison’s refugees through education, advocacy, and community. He and his wife hope to ensure that their two young children keep their dreams of being a doctor and a pilot despite the struggles in their homeland.

Sheila Badwan was born in Raleigh, NC and raised in Greenville, NC. She graduated in 2005 from East Carolina University with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. She has worked in the healthcare industry in many specialties doing medical billing and coding for the last 10 years. Badwan is the cofounder of Open Arms, an interfaith group of women in Milwaukee. She is currently the lead for the Hanan RRG Milwaukee chapter and works heavily with refugees and immigrant populations in the Milwaukee community. She is married and a devoted mom to two kids, one of whom is partially deaf and has epilepsy. Badwan believes this is important in building bridges among various communities. She has worked in Milwaukee, Sheboygan, and Oshkosh to establish relationships with various cultures, communities, and religions on refugee/immigrant issues.

Saturday, March 19, 2022 – 11 am-12:30 pm [Click here to watch a recording of this session.]
Saturday, April 16, 2022 – 11 am-12:30 pm
Myanmar One Year After the Coup

The second installment of the HOME Conversations series dives into the Myanmar democracy movement and Myanmar/Burmese refugee resettlement in the US. This panel will bring together community leaders, thinkers, and artists from Myanmar. In March we will highlight and analyze key moments in Myanmar’s history, including the recent Spring Revolution, that led to multiple internal conflicts that greatly impacted ethnic minorities and the continuing refugee crises in the region. The conversation continues in April as we actively involve participants in action plans to address and assist in refugee resettlement with input from Milwaukee-based leaders and representatives from Myanmar and Southeast Asian communities.

Recommended Readings
U.N. says military violence in Myanmar may be 'crimes against humanity', NPR, March 16, 2022, link
Widespread abuses since Myanmar coup may amount to war crimes, says UN report, The Guardian, March 16, 2022, link 
Myanmar Junta Has Torched Over 6,000 Civilian Homes Since Coup, The Irrawaddy, March 2, 2022, link
One Year Since the Coup, Women-led Protests in Myanmar Need Global Solidarity and Action More Than Ever, Global Washington, February 23, 2022, link
Military Violence Emboldens Myanmar’s Ethnic Resistance, Foreign Policy, February 19, 2022, link
A Year After Coup, Myanmar Is Mired in Conflict and Chaos, New York Times, February 1, 2022, link
Gender and Conflict in Myanmar, Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar (K4DM) Initiative, Podcast, Asia Research News, link

About the Participants
Biak Tha Hlawn, known as Hlawn Hlawn, is an undergraduate student attending Stanford University with an intended major in international relations. Hlawn Hlawn was born and raised in Thantlang, Chin State, and briefly relocated to Malaysia from 2008 to 2010 before immigrating to the United States. She has served in many leadership roles throughout her years in high school at Ronald Reagan and graduated with distinction. Hlawn Hlawn continues her passion for advocacy and activism to this day. In response to the February 1st military coup in 2021, she co-founded Chin Leaders, a Chin youth-led organization, and serves as the Executive Director. At the United States Advocacy Coalition for Myanmar (USACM), she serves as the social media manager and lobbyist. At Stanford, she serves as a fellow for the Asian Women’s Alliance’s Service and Advocacy Committee. Hlawn Hlawn is a Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA) Scholar, Elks Scholar, and Horatio Alger National Scholar. In addition, she has been named the 2019 Youth of the Year by Carson Chin Baptist Church and Senior of the Year by the Milwaukee Public Schools district. Hlawn Hlawn aspires to be the change she seeks in the world.

May Sabe Phyu is a women’s human rights defender, Director of Gender Equality Network, and coordinator of the Women’s Advocacy Coalition Myanmar. She is co-founder of the Kachin Peace Network and Kachin Women Peace Network. She is the recipient of the 2015 International Women of Courage Award, Global Trailblazer Award in 2017, and N-Peace award in 2019. She moved to the United States of America since the military coup in 2021 but continues working with women's rights organizations (WROs) and women's rights activists on the ground to further advance evidence-based advocacy especially towards the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.

Sharifah Shakirah was born in in Buthidaung Township, Rakhine State of Burma/Myanmar. She is the founder and director of the Rohingya Women Development Network (RWDN). RWDN, the first Rohingya women’s group in Malaysia, was founded in December 2016. It is self-funded and aims to empower women by harnessing their abilities and by providing them with opportunities to be leaders. This is done by organising classes for women consisting of general education, education on sexual reproductive health as well as Quran-reading, amongst others. In 2019, she was nominated as Malaysia's candidate for the US Department of State's International Women of Courage award. The award is presented by the US Department of State to acknowledge women around the world who have shown courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment. Currently she is also working as Program Associate at Burma Task Force, to continue to empower the Rohingya community worldwide and advocate for justice for the Rohingya community.

Moe Aung (Maung Phay Thaung) is an activist from the 8888 Uprising started by students in Myanmar on 8 August 1988. He also founded the very first mobile library in Myeik. After the 8888 protests, he moved to Thailand, and from 1993 to 2001, he worked with the publisher Kyay Mone U Thaung producing the revolutionary newspaper Khit Pyaing (New Era). When he left to the United States after the Thai government abolished political refugee camps and safe centers, Moe Aung began dedicating his time and resources to assisting fellow student activists who had also fled their homeland. Now residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he has since continued to affect change from afar and to garner support for Myanmar student activists. In 2011, he started publishing Nay Yar Ta Kar (Everywhere Media) whose main motivation is to serve and support the movement of democracy for Myanmar. In 2017, he was permitted the distribution license of publishing and broadcasting his newsletter in Myanmar, which became the very first non-commercial independent publication for free distribution across the country, disseminated on a monthly to bi-monthly basis. After the 2021 Myanmar coup d’état, local journalists including Nay Yar Ta Kar’s were detained by the military and the newsletter's physical production was put to a halt, forcing it to indefinitely run on social media to ensure the continuation of its free and independent broadcast. Urged by the coup, he actively participates in fundraising events and peaceful protests against the military alongside local Burmese multiethnic groups in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Nay Yar Ta Kar can be read here: https://www.facebook.com/nayyartakarjournal/

Saturday, May 21, 2022 – 11 am-12:30 pm
Saturday, June 18, 2022 – 11 am-12:30 pm
Resurgency in Ethiopia's Northern Tigray

This third installment of the HOME Conversations covers the resurgent crisis in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region within the context of pertinent issues within the Horn of Africa. The session will look at the Tigray crisis that has resulted in the internal and external displacement of more than 2 million people and the critical perspectives and resolutions of thinkers, artists, and people that call Tigray and the peninsula their home. We encourage attendees to sign up for both sessions --the first in May is a listening session with experts from the field and the arts, and the second, in June, is a discussion with an action-oriented format to come up with ideas and solutions in a group setting.

Recommended Readings
Ethiopia's Tigray Refugee Crisis Explained, July 6, 2022, UNHCR, link
Christian Nationalism Is Tearing Ethiopia Apart, Foreign Policy, June 18, 2022, link
Special Report-In Ethiopia's civil war, thousands of jailed Tigrayans endured squalor and disease, Reuters, June 17, 2022, link
Ethiopian government’s Tigray siege leading to starvation, suicide, exodus, Ethiopia Insight, May 20, 2022, link
Ethiopia war: Evidence of mass killing being burned-witnesses, BBC, May 7, 2022, link
Delivery of Humanitarian Assistance in Tigray, Press Statement, Secretary of State, April 15, 2022, link
Crimes against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone, Human Rights Watch, April 6, 2022, link
Not every war gets the same coverage as Russia's invasion — and that has consequences, NPR, March 4, 2022, link
First comprehensive analysis of the looting of Tigray’s heritage as Ebay halts sale of Ethiopian treasures, Globe News Net, February 12, 2022, link
Hospitals in Ethiopia’s war-torn north reel from shortages: ICRC, France24, January 18, 2022, link
Tigray Conflict, Human Rights Watch, 2022, link
Foreign Drones Tip the Balance in Ethiopia’s Civil War, New York Times, December 20, 2021, link
Counterbalancing Chinese Influence in the Horn of Africa: A Strategy for Security and Stability, Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, November 18, 2021, Department of the Air Force, link
There will be no airlift: U.S. urges Americans to leave Ethiopia now, AXIOS, November 15, 2021, link
A Perspective on the Ethiopian-U.S. Relationship After a Year of Conflict, U.S. Special Enjoy for the Horn of Africa, November 1, 2021, U.S. Department of State, link
Analyzing The American Hybrid War on Ethiopia, October 22, 2021, Blog, Andrew Korybko, Russian Council, link
The exemplary U.S. sanctions regime for Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict and its limitations, Brookings, October 1, 2021, link
United States’ Actions To Press for the Resolution of the Crisis in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, Press Statement, Secretary of State, May 23, 2021, link
‘Something’s not right’: See tense confrontation between CNN crew and soldiers, CNN, May 21, 2021, link
Tigray aid response is too little, too late, poll respondents say, The New Humanitarian, April 8, 2021, link
SA resolution calling on the Government of Ethiopia, the Tigray People's Liberation Front, and other belligerents in the conflict in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia to cease all hostilities, protect human rights, allow unfettered humanitarian access, and cooperate with independent investigations of credible atrocity allegations, S.Res.97, Senate - Foreign Relations, US Government, March 24, 2021, link
‘Choose – I kill you or rape you’: abuse accusations surge in Ethiopia’s war, Reuters, January 23, 2021, link
Tigray crisis: Ethiopia to repair al-Nejashi mosque, January 5, 2021, link
The geopolitics of Ethiopia-Tigray conflct, 2021, Acta Fabula, link
The battle of Adwa: an Ethiopian victory that ran against the current of colonialism, January 28, 2020, The Conversation, link
U.S. Refugee Resettlement Shrinking as Need From Africa Continues Growing, Council on Foreign Relations, August 8, 2019, link
Refugee Resettlement: Power, Politics, and Humanitarian Governance, Garnier, A., Jubilut, L.L., Sandvik, K.B., Berghahn Books, 2018, link
African-Americans resettle in Africa, April 2015, Africa Renewal, UN, link

Efforts & Relevant Resources
Gabrielle Tesfaye, Tigray, link
Free Tigray, link
Health Professionals Network for Tigray, link and link
OMNA Tigray, link and link
Security and Justice for Tigrayans, link
SOS International – Tigray Humanitarian Relief Page, link
The Administration for Refugee & Returnee Affairs (ARRA), link
Tigray Art Collective, link

About the Participants
Gabrielle Tesfaye is an interdisciplinary artist versed in painting, animation, lm, and design. Her work is rooted in ancient art traditions and cultural storytelling. Tesfaye is a world traveler, having studied and lived in Thailand, Indonesia, India, Ethiopia and Qatar. Born from a Tigrayan father and Jamaican mother, her mixed ancestry and nomadic lifestyle heavily in uences her diverse art styles and cultural narratives. Tesfaye obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Tesfaye has been recognized in publications such as BBC and Vogue. She is the founder of Tigray Art Collective, an artist iniatitive aimed to bring awareness and healing around the Tigray genocide. She is currently studying design in Doha, Qatar.

Mahder Tella, MPH, MSBA, is a data scientist, activist, and visual artist who believes art is crucial in empowering people to discover their voices and become catalysts for change. Her purpose for Tigray Art Collective is to use art as a tool to intersect activism, social change, and justice by raising consciousness and challenging all forms of oppression. Mahder dreams of Tigray Art Collective being a physical and virtual place where we share the hidden history of Tigray, all while providing the space and resources to create art, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Mahder's oeuvre encompasses paintings, mandala string portraits, resin sculptures, digital illustration, photography, and various works on paper such as watercolors and collages. Exploring new cities and meeting new people opens up her artistic world.

Fessahaye Mebrahtu was born and raised in Eritrea and has resided in the United States of America since 1983. He is married with three children and currently works as Director of Black Catholic and Ethnic Ministries (serving African/African American, Asian Pacific Island and Native American Catholics), Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His previous positions include Chaplain for Wisconsin Department of Corrections; Executive Director, Pan-African Community Association, (PACA) Milwaukee, WI; Youth and Pastoral Ministry at All Saints Catholic Church, Milwaukee, WI and Ge’ez Rite Catholic Church, Washington, DC. For his education, he attained an under graduate degree in philosophy from St. Frumentius Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Asmara, Eritrea, and his graduate degrees include M. Div. and M.A., Catholic Theological Union (Chicago, IL); and Th.M, Institute of Black Catholic Studies - Xavier University, (New Orleans, LA), alongside taking everal graduate level classes as special student at Department of Africology UW-Milwaukee. Mebrahtu's various board membership roles in the community are not limited to the following: National Association of Black Catholic Administrators (NABCA), Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology (SHSST) Hales Corner, WI; National Advisor, Pastoral Care for Migrants, Refugees and Travelers (USCCB-PCMRT) representing Eritrean Ge’ez Rite Apostolate in USA; Internal Review Board (IRB), UW-Milwaukee. He is also a founding member and inaugural president of Association of Eritrean Catholics of Ge’ez Rite in North America (AECGRNA), and member of and assistant secretary of National Association of African Catholics in US (NAACUS), and the Great Lakes Health Equity Advisory Council, Minority Health – HHS Region V (2010-2017).

Haile Berhe hails from Tigray, which as he says, "is the place of my birth" and "the people of Tigray are my people", and whose place and people, he believes, are facing an existential threat. Forty years ago, Berhe arrived in the United States of America alongside his wife and their four-month and two-year old sons from Sudan where he lived as a refugee for over 4 years. During those years, his children were born in the Umgulja refugee camp, about six miles west of the city of Gedaref. Berhe recalls about eighteen months after he and his family left Sudan, over a million of his people perished due to starvation caused by a deliberate government policy of neglect. In his technical career, Berhe is a highly skilled and trained professional, and in 2015, he retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering with an Emeritus status. He had worked as a health informatics researcher in the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (CHESS), leading the technology section of their research. From 2015 to 2019, he had the privilege of spending significant periods of time in Tigray where he volunteered and dedicated his efforts to help the Bureau of Education in the State of Tigray. There, he trained high school ICT teachers in web development basics with the purpose of convincing officials to introduce the field as part of the high school curriculum. He also helped the bureau test and evaluate a pilot software to automate high schools student records, the first of its kind. The project was piloted in partnership with the University of Mekelle. Berhe is passionate about the cause of the Tigrayan people, his people, whom he believes are facing a genocidal ethnic cleansing, and only a very small fraction —about sixty five thousand— have been lucky enough to find safety in Sudan.


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