Episode 2 of the GCPodcast has just been released! More information linked below.
During the 2021-22 academic year, current sophomores Sarah Kaul, Mary Psyhogeos, Riley Novak, and Lawrence Hapeman took part in the Global Citizenship Program (GCP), an Ampersand based in the Global Studies department. In the two classes and a semester-long workshop, GCP students engage in discussion and action that centers immigration, community organizing, and what it means to be a ‘global citizen.’
A focal point of the program was a trip to Tucson, AZ, where students met with community leaders working towards immigration justice and providing for the immediate needs of new arrivals to the US. The GCP classroom had always been a place of excited discussion, but it was rarely as impactful as being at the border itself. To witness its profound significance is to wonder if a group of people could ever be as strong as the systems that govern their lives. The trip introduced the GCP cohort to people like Manuel Morales, who has witnessed decades of change (and lack thereof) along the US-Mexico border. Manuel was just one of the dozens of people working towards immigration justice that the GCP class met during the academic year, and each time they were inspired by the commitment to an enormous cause that often lacks proper awareness.
While it was not exactly studying ‘abroad,’ there was an awareness on the trip of the potential danger of falling into the stereotypes of college students returning from academic trips energized to create change but quickly losing momentum. Working with community organizers along the border was meaningful, but it felt important to avoid returning to St. Louis only to ponder nostalgically about how inspirational and hopeful the trip had felt (“It just felt so impactful, ya know? I wish we could go back, where we were making real change,” and so on). As the semester came to an end, four GCP students (Riley, Sarah, Mary, and Lawrence) began executing an idea that had been discussed in Tucson: a podcast for both education and collaboration.
(From left to right: Sarah Kaul, Riley Novak, Mary Psyhogeos, and Lawrence Hapeman)
In the first episode, they were fortunate to speak with leaders at the Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA) about their work in St. Louis. IFCLA has been a prominent force in St. Louis for community organizing and support for decades, and they continue to do astonishing work in education, accompaniment, and policy fields.
The second and newest episode is a discussion with Blake Hamilton from the International Institute of St. Louis (IISTL), a local refugee resettlement and support agency. The discussion highlights the countless services that the International Institute offers (including education, citizenship tutoring, housing, economic development, language acquisition, job placement, policy advocacy, and much more); the impact of current events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, Afghan refugee crisis, and Russo-Ukrainian War; recent legislation such as the Afghan Adjustment Act; and how listeners can become involved.
The Global Citizenship Podcast team plans to continue creating episodes throughout the spring semester and are excited to speak with local organizations that provide support to parts of the community that legislative programs and social norms often ignore. While St. Louis might not be the US-Mexico border, the archetypal flashpoint for immigration to the US, it is far from isolated from the need for justice in local communities. Refugees and immigrants are making homes in all parts of the country, and families who have lived in St. Louis for decades have been systematically underserved. It is the podcast’s mission to bring awareness to this incredible microcosm of issues that affect people around the world.