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The Antelope

The Antelope

Panel, film prepare community for potential influx of refugees

RYAN RANGE / ANTELOPE STAFF Crane River Theater will present ‘Pretty Fire’ starting Feb. 23 in the World Theatre.

UNK shed some light on the “refugee crisis” with a panel in Copeland Hall yesterday, and a film that will be showing at the World Theatre tonight.

The panel included Chuck Rowling from the Department of Political Science, Janet Graham from the Department of English and Tiffani Luethke from the Department of Communication. 

Luethke said she is excited about the influx of refugees headed to Nebraska. 

“I think it’s necessary for everyone to understand why refugees are coming here and what we can do locally to help them,” Luethke said. “They are impacting and enriching Nebraska’s culture. We are also experiencing a national worker shortage and they are definitely helping fill jobs.”

According to the United States Government, a refugee is “an alien who, generally, has experienced past persecution or has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” 

“I come from a family of refugees from Mexico and I think coming to America is completely life changing for so many,” said Jake Maaske, a UNK student. “It was my grandmother who came over first and the (United States) provided her with the opportunity to become an entrepreneur which ultimately helped shape my life as well.”

The refugee panel presentation is only the kickoff for a series of events that Carol Lilly, the director of International Studies, is putting together as the influx of refugees into Nebraska grows due to the events in Afghanistan. 

“The state of Nebraska is going to see upwards of 800 Afghans start to settle and they’re going to need help obtaining jobs, drivers licenses and, most importantly, housing amongst other things,” Lilly said. 

UNK has partnered up with Lutheran Family Services, an organization based out of Omaha and Lincoln that helps with all of these aspects, as they plan to start moving their efforts more west in an attempt to keep up with the needs of refugee families moving into central Nebraska. 

The main event is their highlight film “A Home Called Nebraska”. The showing will be held at 7 p.m. tonight at Kearney’s World Theatre. The film is free to UNK students and the public is encouraged to make a $10 donation. 

“This will hopefully be the inaugural event that is going to get the ball rolling on this project,” Lilly said. 

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