Changing the Narrative: Conversations on Improving the Wellbeing of Immigrants

PTR Blog

On May 2nd, the Northern California Grantmakers (NCG) held its 2023 Annual Conference on the theme ‘Mapping Our Collective Future’ in San Francisco. PTR Executive Director Leah Spelman spoke as a member of the panel, along with Lauren Markham of Oakland International High School (OIHS), Nunu Kidane of Priority Africa Network (PAN), and artist Aimee Suzara. Panelists spoke about mental health, education, and community mobilization in relation to immigration.

While conversations centered around building equitable futures by protecting democracy, confronting racial inequities, and addressing the climate crisis, it also spotlighted the multiple issues facing immigrants in the Bay Area. 

“Almost a third of Californians are foreign-born & the state ranks #1 for state refugee resettlement. Refugees are coming with cumulative trauma – trauma in countries of origin, trauma while they are in flight, and trauma upon arrival in the US.”

The Panel, ‘Pathway to Action: Building Vibrant Immigrant Futures’, amplified the challenges immigrants experience as they engage with multiple institutions and agencies while settling in the Bay Area. Panelists demonstrated, in various ways, how such challenges traumatize and re-traumatize immigrants.

Spelman addressed the plethora of mental health issues that immigrants regularly experience. She also highlighted the role of PTR and other partner organizations at the conference in addressing these challenges.

“Their stories are that of resilience and power and their will to survive.”

A big thank you to Northern California Grantmakers for the opportunity to highlight these important issues!