Book editors, contributors to address immigration in panel discussion

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News

Immigration and Justice for our Neighbors book cover.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Issues surrounding immigration, hospitality and being a good neighbor will be brought to light in a panel discussion by editors and contributors of the new anthology "Immigration and Justice for Our Neighbors."

The event, titled "Immigrant to Neighbor: Journeying Through Hope and Fear," is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, in the Brown and Gold Room of the Bernhard Center. Part of the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society's fall 2017 season, it is free and open to the public.

The program

The program will feature anthology co-editors Jennifer Clark and Miriam Downey as well as contributors Hedy Habra, Bryan R. Monte and Lynn Pattison. The anthology was recently published by Celery City Books in collaboration with the United Methodist ministry Justice for Our Neighbors-Kalamazoo—or J-FON. J-FON provides free legal clinics for local immigrants and advocates for immigrant rights.

Aita Diop, legal assistant at J-FON, will provide an overview of the ministry's work. Other panelists will perform readings from the book, now in its second edition. The volume features poems, interviews and essays written by authors from Kalamazoo and elsewhere in Michigan. The contributions focus on the themes of immigration, hospitality and being a good neighbor. The readings will be followed by a panel discussion and questions and answers.

The panelists

Clark is the author of "Necessary Clearings." Her second poetry collection, "Johnny Appleseed: The Slice and Times of John Chapman," is forthcoming.

Downey is a retired public school librarian and media specialist. For the past several years she has tutored international students from WMU and helped them adapt and adjust to student life in the United States. She regularly reviews books on her blog, The Cyberlibrarian: Reviews and Views on Current Literature and has worked with J-FON for the past three years.

Habra, a WMU Spanish instructor, has written two poetry collections, "Tea in Heliopolis" and "Under Brushstrokes." Her story collection, "Flying Carpets," won the 2013 Arab American National Book Award's Honorable Mention. Her poetry appears in Cimarron Review, Bitter Oleander, Gargoyle, Poet Lore, Nimrod, World Literature Today and Verse Daily. Her website is

Monte is a social anthropologist, writer and editor from the Netherlands. Recently his work has appeared in Assaracus, Friends Journal, the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, the anthology "Gathered: Contemporary Quaker Poets," and the online magazines Poetry Pacific and the South Florida Poetry Journal.

Pattison is a Michigan poet whose work has appeared in The Notre Dame Review, Rhino, Atlanta Review, Harpur Palate, Smartish Pace, Rattle, Tinderbox, Slipstream and Poetry East, among others, and been anthologized in several venues. Nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, she is the author of three collections, "Tesla's Daughter," "Walking Back the Cat" and "Light That Sounds Like Breaking."

Diop is originally from Senegal and is a 2014 graduate of WMU with a bachelor's degree in Spanish.

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