South Hills Events to Highlight Stories of Local Immigrants

Written by Jim Spezialetti – Pittsburgh Tribune Review – Monday, March 27, 2017
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Whitehall Public Library will hold the first of two Allegheny County Library Association events that celebrate immigration experiences in the region.

“Immigration Journeys: Old and New” will feature 10 short videos by South Hills residents who highlight their own or their family’s immigration story.

Sally Rafson, who is the project manager, said the program is designed to address misunderstandings people might have with refugees and immigrants.

“Digital storytelling is an effective tool for what new refugees have gone through,” Rafson said.

Whitehall’s library will host the event at 2 p.m. April 1. South Park Township Library will feature the videos at 6:30 p.m. April 18.

The videos were created over four weekends at the Whitehall Public Library. Professionals helped lead participants through the process of writing and creating videos that are about three minutes each.

Rafson said five videos feature lifelong South Hills residents who share stories of their parents or grandparents coming to America. The other five videos feature refugees who recently found a new home in the South Hills.

The events include a facilitated community conversation, multicultural entertainment and food tasting.

The program was made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, as well as funding from The Sprout Fund, Vibrant Pittsburgh, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Corinne Guillou and the Ridgeville Kids.

Rafson said the hope is to extend the program to other Pittsburgh communities.

Jim Spezialetti is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

Reach him at 412-388-5805 or