Several New Americans created an intimate atmosphere as they shared their personal experiences of immigrating to the U.S. at the Salt Lake City Main Library Sept. 20.
The presentation titled “Rooted: Stories from Home” was part of Welcoming Week: a series of artistic expressions organized by the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office to unite New Americans together with those who were born in the U.S.
Among the presenters was Daud Mumin, a first-year student at Westminster College studying international relations and human rights advocacy. Mumin was part of the Rooted event, presenting his passionate opinions through slam poetry.
“It’s a really raw and authentic way of looking at migration,” Mumin said. “It’s not the sugar-coated story.”
Mumin is a first-generation Somali-Muslim American as well as an award-winning spoken word artist, public speaker, social justice activist and human rights advocate.
He said he is motivated to give a voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless by engaging in uncomfortable conversations.
“It’s about embracing difference, promoting change and uniting hope,” Mumin said.
Carson Capps, an undeclared first-year student, said Daud and Chelsea’s slam poetry resonated with them.
“The issues they brought forward are happening not only throughout the world but within our community,” Capps said.
The event was a passionate experience, focused on uncovering personal truths, according to Chelsea Guevara, a first-generation El Salvador American who performed slam poetry.
“The news depicts [immigrants] as a ghost story,” Guevara said.
Similar to Mumin, Guevara emphasized how their culture is suppressed by American culture that refuses to accept differences.
“It’s not about us being pity or needing pity, it’s actually quite the opposite,” Mumin said. “It’s about being immersed into a culture instead of […] bleaching the accent off my tongue.”
“Art from Home” focused on the combination of art and immigration, connecting the public and encouraging empathy.
“Thirteen percent of people that live in Salt Lake County are actually people that were born outside the country,” Mumin said.
Salt Lake County is diverse and people such as Mumin and Guevara are at the front of the movement to embrace these differences.
“Attending the Rooted event made me realize the amount of diversity in my community and how empowering it is to be aware of it,” Capps said. “It made me understand how important diversity is within my school and community as the culture [immigrants] bring to the table, creates new opportunities and ideas.”
The Rooted event was not the first attempt to get the stories of American Immigrants out to the community of Salt Lake, and it won’t be the last, Mumin said.
“It’s amazing to see that an elected official wants to hear our stories,” Mumin said. “It’s about me telling [my mother’s] story, and not forgetting the struggles she went through for me to have this education.”