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Forum at Noah Webster House Will Focus on ‘Refugees, Asylees and Immigrants in West Hartford’

Noah Webster House. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The West Hartford Human Rights Commission will host the community conversation in collaboration with the Noah Webster House.

Noah Webster House. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Noah Webster House. Photo credit: Deb Cohen


The public is invited to attend “Conversations: A Community Forum” at the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society. The discussion on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 7 p.m. will focus on refugees, asylees and immigrants in West Hartford and measures town residents can take to help.

The event is free to the public and co-hosted by the West Hartford Human Rights Commission.

The concept for this Community Forum came from West Hartford’s inaugural “One Book, One Town” choice: Outcasts United, written by Warren St. John in 2009. The book portrays one woman’s efforts to unite a group of displaced people in a small town in Georgia through the game of soccer. Due to continuing world conflict, the number of displaced people seeking a better life in the United States has only continued to grow.

West Hartford has experienced an increase in its population, including many from regions of conflict across the globe. “Refugees, Asylees & Immigrants in West Hartford: Why They Are Here & What We Can Do to Help” will: help explain the difference between the terms “refugee,” “asylee,” and “immigrant”; take a look at what is happening in the world that is causing people to leave their homes; and discuss measures being taken by West Hartford organizations and individuals to help the situation.

This Community Forum will be moderated by Dr. Janet Bauer, Associate Professor of International Studies and Coordinator of Global Studies at Trinity College. Bauer is a commissioner of the City of Hartford Commission on Refugee and Immigrant Affairs (CRIA), constituted over a year ago to be a “voice” for the concerns of Hartford’s immigrant and refugee residents, and has worked with West Hartford’s Faxon Library Branch on their Immigrant Needs Assessment Survey. Her teaching, research, and publications focus on immigrant and refugee issues as well as on families and communities in the Muslim diaspora.  Her recent outreach and academic work examines the role of faith-based organizations (and their partnerships with other nonprofits) in refugee and immigrant integration and inclusion in the Greater Hartford area.

Members of the Refugees, Asylees & Immigrants in West Hartford panel will each give a short presentation, followed by a question and answer period. Panelists include: Megan Clark Torrey, Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Connecticut, who will provide an overview of global events that are displacing people; Dr. Judy Wyman Kelly, Secretary of the West Hartford Human Rights Commission, who will discuss what factors led to the establishment of the Commission; and Rev. Dr. Terry Schmitt and Linda Scacco, representatives of Welcome to Connecticut (WTCT), who will detail how an affiliation of three faith-based organizations are working together to bring displaced families to the Greater Hartford area.

“Conversations: A Community Forum” will be held at the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society at 227 South Main St., West Hartford, CT 06107 on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 7 p.m. This event is FREE and open to the public. No registration is required. Please visit the museum’s website at www.noahwebsterhouse.org or call (860) 521-5362 x 10 for more information. The program is co-sponsored by the West Hartford Human Rights Commission and West Hartford One Book, One Town.

The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society is a cultural destination where citizens can learn to understand and appreciate the past. The museum preserves the birthplace of Noah Webster, the founding father, educator, author, and lexicographer who taught generations of Americans what it means to be American. This National Historic Landmark is also a repository for the history of West Hartford, the community that molded Noah Webster’s future and is still thriving over 250 years later. The historic house and exhibit spaces are open daily 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. For information on the museum’s extensive school and public programs, please visit www.noahwebsterhouse.org or call (860) 521-5362.



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