Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Sophomore Calvin Ho ’11 has always been fascinated by the immigrant experience. Growing up as the son of refugees in an LA neighborhood composed largely of recent Mexican and Salvadorian immigrants, migration issues were prominent features of both his life and surroundings.
As a freshman at Swarthmore, Ho joined War News Radio and later came up with the idea for a similar initiative surrounding migration. “After working on pieces about Iraqi refugees, Iraqi immigrants in Syria and Sweden, I decided that it would be really cool if I incorporated a new media project focused just on migration issues,” Ho said.
The idea now is for an online podcast-centered, multimedia blog run entirely by students. Ho hopes to start with the blog and podcast and eventually feature a mix of audio, video, photography, and text. Pieces will likely be a combination of personal stories and commentary, and the project as a whole is free-form, with no particular slant. “We want to keep the idea of “migration” open,” Ho adds, “but narrow down our focus using broad themes.”
The first major theme or question Ho hopes to tackle is the age-old “Why do people move?” Different pieces will center around the various push/pull factors of migration (war, trafficking, work, etc…) and draw from examples locally in North Philly as well as domestically and internationally.
For this semester, the as yet unnamed group is just revving up and trying to get off the ground. So far, Ho has received plenty of interest, particularly from students who are or were abroad. Ho is also looking to collaborate with War News Radio, Darfur Radio Project, and the Chinatown Youth Project and will use shared resources as a jumping point to explore the often intricate and non-linear narratives of migration.
The project’s main aim is to raise awareness of what’s going on with migration issues. “There are large debates going on all the time, and immigrants are pouring in [to the US] from all over the world. Their stories deserve to be told. We’re here to contextualize what’s happening in the news as well as what’s being underreported.”
The project’s next organizational meeting will be Wednesday (the 17th) at 9 PM in the Kohlberg Coffee Bar. Interested students should contact Calvin Ho at email@example.com for more information.