On Friday, April 26th, about 40 Skyline students and faculty members attended an inspiring and educational event held in the Intercultural Center. History professor Katie Manbachi and Art History professor Kathy Zarur moderated the event.

Colette Ghunim, half Palestinian and half Mexican, opened the event by discussing her film, Traces of Home. We watched some very moving clips from Traces of Home, in which she documents her family’s travels to Mexico and Palestine after immigrating to the U.S. many years ago. Ghunim was interested in understanding how her family’s move to the U.S. and their separation from their cultures affected them and, in turn, how these separations affected her, her siblings, and the community. Her remarks and the clips from her film were honest, thought-provoking, and often poignant.

Ghunim was followed by CSM Ethnic Studies professor Edgar Mojica-Villegas, who spoke eloquently about the complex relationship between identity, culture, borders, and the sacrifices of immigration. Villegas looked at the bigger picture of colonialism, including settler-colonialism, racism, and the “othering” that occurs when a country or government treats members of its population as disposable. Their remarks were followed by a small group discussion among the audience.

Maryam Khan, Engineering faculty at Skyline, attended the event and shared her reflections: “It was insightful to hear students from diverse backgrounds share their perspectives on land occupation,” Professor Khan remarked. “With the varied narratives, a sense of collective understanding emerged, highlighting our interconnected experiences. It reminded me of our shared connection in the struggle for justice and owning our heritage, reflecting our common aspirations in advocating for our rights.”

Written by Katharine Harer, retired English Professor, Skyline College, & Maryam Khan, Engineering Professor, Skyline College.

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