Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation Presents Annual Community Symposium

Refugees and Immigration – A New Era     Saturday, November 20   2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

The Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation will hold its 2021 Symposium Refugees and Immigration – A New Era on Saturday, November 20th from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
at the Gloucester Meetinghouse, corner of Church and Middle Streets. The Symposium is free and open to the public. Proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test
plus masks are required. Refreshments are available for break times outside. Donations toward the ongoing restoration of the Meetinghouse are gratefully received.

The United States has entered a new era relating to immigration and refugees – one that has been clouded by the politics of previous administrations, hampered by
evolving policies, but founded on a humanitarian tradition of hope and opportunity for those seeking entry. Over the past year, the new administration has introduced
policies and practices that attempt to address the growing need for a comprehensive approach to relieving the pressures at our country’s borders and articulating a clear
and equitable process for those entering the country. But where are we now and where are we headed? The November 20th Symposium features local and regional experts
to discuss the current state of immigration and what is happening in our communities. Recent immigrants and refugees who have navigated the process will share their first-hand stories.

Alexandra Weber, Chief Institutional Advancement Officer for the International Institute of New England in Boston; Elsabel Rincon, Founder and Executive Director of The Welcome
Immigrant Network in Salem, and recipient of the Peter J. Gomes Service Award recently presented by Representative Seth Moulton; Andy Allen, Director of Adult Education at Wellspring
House; Melissa Buchanan, ESOL Coordinator for the Wellspring Adult Learning Center; Rev. Alice Erickson, Gloucester resident who has been active in the process of resettling refugees;
and Blanca Martinez, an immigrant representative from the Essex County Community Foundation in Lynn, and Francis Mpfuranziza, who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo during the
ethnic violence, will share their first-hand experiences settling in the United States.

Participants will discuss a broad range of topics from documented and undocumented immigrants, unaccompanied children, trafficking, and the expectations and experiences of resettled immigrants,
to border concerns and legal and tax issues. Presenters will participate in a round-table discussion at the conclusion of the program with opportunities for audience questions. An important element
of the Symposium will be the personal stories of immigrants, their reasons for coming to the United States, and their experiences navigating the resettlement process.

The Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation’s annual symposium seeks to provide an open forum for the community to come together to discuss topics of current importance and their impact at the
local level. Written questions from the audience will be given to the round-table group.

The Gloucester Meetinghouse, home of the Unitarian Universalist Church, is located at the corner of Church and Middle Streets. The accessible side entrance is at 10 Church Street. Event parking
is available on the green and at parking lots nearby in the Historic District. For more information on this program and for the full 2021-22 event schedule, visit


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