Immigration issues expressed through Becoming American event

William Sikich

With immigration so commonly on the lips of every news source and public figure, the modern American must often consider what he or she knows about the experience of those who choose to relocate to the United States. The Becoming American traveling film festival, scheduled to present a relevant documentary on immigration in the QC every Tuesday until April 9, aims to provide Americans with fresh insight into the subject.

Becoming American is a prestigious and sought after national program that Augustana’s own Dr. Adam Kaul and Dr. Christopher Strunk have been asked to host on behalf of the Moline Public Library. The National Endowment for the Humanities funds the event, and City Lore — charged with facilitating the program — provides organizations like the Moline Public Library with the six-strong film series in order to foster cultural education in nearby public spaces.

The Quad Cities are lucky to host the films, as cities must apply to receive the rights to show them. Scholarly commentary will accompany the films, as well as a question and answer session with Kaul and Strunk after each showing.

Anyone interested is encouraged and welcomed to attend and explore the subject with academic and empathetic curiosity.

Each documentary offers a personal perspective on immigration; the series as a whole offers Americans a new view of immigration as a human experience.

“I think the primary goal is to have conversations around the history of immigration and the current debates around immigration in the United States and here in the Quad Cities,” said Strunk when asked about the purpose of the event.

“So, connecting some of these larger themes about the history of European, of Latin American, of Asian immigration to the Quad Cities,” Strunk said.

Politics and media today often inform our perception of immigration via radical or less-than-objective reporting. Events like Becoming American possess the valuable potential to temper America’s attitude towards its immigrant population.

“If you just read the heated rhetoric on the news, if that’s what you know about immigration, that’s not really the immigrant experience,” said Kaul when asked about his thoughts on the importance of Becoming American.

“I think this is a way to get the public in the Quad Cities and the country, through this program, to really take a look at the complexities of it,” Kaul said.

Strunk and Kaul will host the remaining five films at various public locations throughout the QC until Apr. 9.