Documentary, discussion on refugees at NCC
Event was part of college's lecture series
NASHUA – Nashua Community College hosted a screening of the documentary “Uprooted: Heartache and Hope in New Hampshire,” followed by group discussion in conjunction with the NCC Lecture Series.
This is the second event in the series this semester, and both the NCC and Nashua communities were welcomed to attend free of charge Thursday night at the Judd Gregg Hall Auditorium.
“Usually, we have two per semester, and the topics range from published authors to archeology to science to issues that are current, like immigration and refugee status,” said Sally Bashalany, coordinator for NCC Lecture Series and department chair of Arts, Humanities, Communications and Design.
With this event geared toward focusing on immigration and refugee status, Dr. Sara Withers of the UNH anthropology department facilitated the screening.
The 30-minute long documentary was based on interviews conducted by the UNH Center for the Humanities during New Hampshire Humanities’ Fences & Neighbors initiative on immigration. The documentary itself tells the story of five refugees who resettled in New Hampshire after escaping from war-torn countries.
Withers organized and conducted nearly 40 oral history interviews that then served as the basis for the film.
“We’re looking to have something to tie in with a grant that the college received for the Campus Compact Organization, and a group of faculty, staff and students are working on promoting civil discourse within the college community as well as the outside community,” Bashalany said.
The Campus Compact is a grant-funded initiative at NCC that’s designed to foster communication and leadership skills for those in participation.
“So, one of the things they’re looking to do is have some sort of forum where they could participate in the training they received so far this
semester as civil-discussion facilitators. We thought this is a perfect topic. It’s been a hot topic in the news, so we decided this would work well,” Bashalany said.
She said the NCC lecture series has worked with New Hampshire Humanities, and the event was supported in part by a grant from the organization.
Before the documentary was screened, Bashalany and Withers both gave opening remarks. During this time, Withers had attendees close their eyes as she described the story of a married couple from Bosnia that was featured in the film.
After telling their story, she said, “They’re a broad representation of what a lot of refugees I talked with went through.”
She said the film came out as part of this larger oral history project that started back in 2008/2009 from the refugee and immigrant community itself.
“Leaders in that community, especially in Manchester, contacted people from New Hampshire Humanities saying there’s a lot in the news right now and not a lot of it is positive,” Withers said.
Those refugees were worried their voices aren’t being heard, so it was decided that one way to tell those stories was to start recording them, and that’s where Withers came in. She heard many stories that were worth telling, but just five of the many were included in the film.
After the documentary screening finished, Withers had attendees think to themselves about what they had just seen before breaking off into small discussion groups.
Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.