Tibaria, a senior at a Bellevue high school who immigrated to the US from Iraq with her family, is engaged in a project to collect audio clips of immigrants sharing a variety of stories in response to her questions and personal interviews. She hopes to edit and compile the audio that she gathers to make available by podcast and/or otherwise on the Internet. Through this project she hopes to portray the pluralism and vibrant differences of immigrants and humanize them for the listeners, combat stereotypes and encourage immigrants to find their voice and describe the difficulties of being an immigrant in America.
The project has taken on new poignancy in the wake of the Paris massacre and the resulting xenophobia of Syrian refugees when the media reported that one of the suspects may have been a Syrian immigrant to France. National poll conducted by CBS news in mid November 2015 showed that 50% of all respondents expressed the opinion that the US should not allow any refugees from Syria into the United States at this time. Such fear is hard to salve armed only with statistics, thus Tibaria’s project uses story rather than statistics to stir the conscience and humanize the heart.