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Confluence Center continues Collaborations series with musical performances

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Kyle Mittan | Arizona Daily Wildcat

Kyle Mittan / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Javier Duran, director of the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry, poses in front of the center on Wednesday. The center is hosting an event on Saturday to examine how America’s view of immigration has changed over time.

The Confluence Center for Creative Inquiry will host a two-part series regarding immigration on Saturday, as part its Creative Collaborations series at the UofA Bookstore.

The event, titled “The Changing Face of Immigration,” includes a discussion featuring faculty members of the Confluence Center and musical performances.

The first part of the series, at 11 a.m., will feature Paula Fan, a regents’ professor at the UA School of Music, who will try to shine an artistic light on the subject of immigration. Fan, a child of Chinese immigrants, will share her memories of Ellis Island.

Other immigrant stories will be portrayed through a song representation by Alan Louis Smith, originally chronicled in the Ellis Island Oral History Project. The artistic piece will focus on the changing views Americans have had throughout history, Fan said.

“We’re essentially hoping to present the many different immigrant voices there are,” Fan added. “Immigration has sort of become a black and white issue … when it should really be treasured as a resource. Music and arts really expresses the human side of it.”

Javier Duran, director of the Confluence Center, will lead the discussion in the first part of the series. Duran said immigration is all too often viewed from an economic, social and political perspective and, because of this, the stories of immigrants often go untold.

By having people come together from across all borders, the image of immigration is no longer just limited to the United States-Mexico border, Duran added.

“It’s human nature and going through historical cycles to want to talk about this from an economical perspective,” Duran said. “We want to do is show the audience that immigration is a fabric of our society … these aren’t machines walking across the border, but people.”

The second part of the series, which begins at 2 p.m., will include a musical performance by, Hector Acosta and Verania Luzero that will highlight the experiences of immigrants’ arrival in the U.S. Acosta and Luzero’s music piece features a blues and jazz twist on popular Mexican songs.

Maria Telles, program coordinator for the Confluence Center, is one of the many faces of immigration. Telles was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and was brought to the U.S. when she was 10.

Her family crossed the New Mexico border, settled in the state and eventually established citizenship. Although Telles received a doctorate degree, she said the immigrant experience wasn’t an easy one.

“Everything eventually came to a halt … I remember a group of students calling me a ‘wetback,‘” Telles said. “That didn’t make sense to me. Immigration is definitely an issue you can’t ignore, so I think it’s important to the Mexican culture and experiences of our people here.”


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