Lincoln High Students Share Their Immigration Stories

Sioux Falls, S.D. – Moving to a new home can be very challenging.  However, immigrants and refugees have it tougher than anyone.

“We want people to know, not just assume things that are going on because you can’t judge a book by its cover.  So you want to know about where they came from and the things they went through before you start judging them,” says Lincoln High School Senior Amani Boas.

After receiving a micro grant from South Dakota Faith in Public Life, Lincoln High senior Michael Chang was tasked to organize storytelling events for immigrants and refugees.

The Stanford University-bound Chang says these events are an opportunity to inform the public about the common misunderstandings when it comes to immigrants.

“The purpose of this event is kind of just to humanize and kind of clear up a lot of the misinformation there is around immigrants and refugees.  It’s certainly a pertinent issue,” says Chang.

Four Lincoln High School students were nominated by their teachers to speak at the event to tell their adventures.

Boas emigrated from Burundi to Sioux Falls when he was eight years old.

His passion for the sport of soccer helped him acclimate to his new home.

“We had some people that helped me out.  They tried me out for the Dakota Alliance and I started playing ever since then and still play now,” Boas tells us.

Natalie Silva-Rodriguez emigrated from Puerto Rico when she was eleven.

She says immigrants and refugees want an opportunity to experience the american dream.

“They just want to be part of this.  It’s not just the color of our skin and what race we are, we are together, united like America is for dreams and freedom,” says Silva-Rodriguez.

Last year the Lutheran Social Services resettled 316 refugees in Sioux Falls.

43% of them were 18-years-old or younger.

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