After the Cross-collaboration with Humphrey Fellows from American University in Washington D.C. in October, Cronkite’s Humphrey Fellows went on realizing a Cross-collaboration with Yavapai Community College Honor Students in Prescott, Arizona.
The encounter on November 22, 2019, in Yavapai Community College offered the opportunity for Yavapai students and Cronkite’s Humphrey Fellows, to discuss and share personal experiences with respect to migration and US/Mexico borders issues.
At the very beginning of the meeting, the participants attended a video conference-call with Vanessa Ruiz, Director of Cronkite News Borderlands, an experienced journalist covering immigration in Arizona and Florida. The latter started the conversation by distinguishing the concepts of “immigrant” and “refugee”, as both are generally misused. She also highlighted main current facts relating to Trump’s Administration’s immigration policy.
Both Humphrey Fellows and Yavapai College students animated the discussion by asking thoughtful questions and pointing out relevant topics related to migration. Vanessa Ruiz, based on her long years of experiences, responded with bold answers and useful advices inviting the participants to be as unbiased as possible regarding migration and other life issues. “Everyone is biased. But, as journalists, it’s essential to track our own bias, to be conscious about them, and try to avoid them when it come to reporting about facts”, she said. “Journalism is about informing and providing accurate information to the community in order for it to take meaningful and impactful decisions,” she added.
After Vanessa’s presentation, Dr. Bill Silcock, Assistant Dean of Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, made a short presentation about the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program, and Hubert Humphrey’s legacy. After that, he invited the participants to discuss about courses of actions that the United States could take in order to improve the refugee situation along the US/Mexico border and across the world.
Camille Elemia and Monica Rivero, Humphrey Fellows respectively from the Philippines and Cuba, shared experiences on their trip to the US/Mexico border, especially in Tijuana, in Mexico. Nera Valentic and Radovan Bogojevic, Humphrey Fellows respectively from Croatia and Montenegro, completed the session sharing experiences about refugee situation in their homeland. Yavapai College students had the opportunity to ask questions and interacted with the Humphreys Fellows about their preoccupation regarding the above-mentioned issue.
Humphrey Fellows and Yavapai students volunteered together
After the discussion on migration issues, Humphrey Fellows and Yavapai students had lunch, and spent time together while eating. Following lunch time, they stepped by the Stepping Stones Agency, a Shop located in the Prescott Valley that collects old and unused clothing and furniture, and sells them at a reduced price. The Humphrey Fellows and the Yavapai students ended the day helping the Shop to clean and arrange all the products, anticipating Black Friday.