Build bridges one heart at a time

Maria Sol Varisco Santini | Executive Director, Iowa Justice For Our Neighbors

The Idea: Des Moines needs more integration programs and activities. We used to use the term of assimilation when talking about newcomers into our communities, but that is a one-way expectation. Integration programs bring a possibility of hearing two sides, and those interactions and activities allow us to find what it is it that we have in common as human beings. One way would be to provide a forum for sharing first-generation stories, since Iowa and Des Moines have so many third and fourth generations of Germans, Irish, Danish, Italians, etc. Sharing the stories of their ancestors or searching to learn more about them could be a beginning of a bridge when we compare those stories with the first generations of today. When you compare the reasons of why people migrate and the types of jobs they used to do 100-150 years ago with the answers of the first generation of today, you may find a lot of similarities in the stories, challenges, fears and opportunities. >