Our impact is growing

Opening night of our very first exhibition, “Who We Are,” at the Muslim Educational Trust, Tigard, Oregon, May 26, 2018. The exhibit and a series of articles featured Muslim women who wear the hijab and opened on the first anniversary of the MAX stabbings, in which two passengers were killed in a racist incident. Photo Credit: Chris Eadicicco / The Immigrant Story

Journalism: Our profiles take both long- and short-form narrative style. We publish about one story a week. We’ve also completed and submitted a manuscript for a book to Oregon State University Press. 

Live Events: The Immigrant Story Live is a series of unforgettable events that place immigrant storytellers and musicians front and center. TIS brought live music and storytelling to audiences both in-person and online, including the September 2021 event, “I Am My Story Live: Voices of Hope.” This inspiring and uplifting event was staged during the City of Beaverton’s Welcoming Week. It featured first-person stories and music from survivors of genocide and war. 

“Many Roads to Here” Podcast: In the fall of 2020, TIS launched a new podcast featuring stories of migration and identity told in immigrants’ own words. The first season is available now on Apple Podcasts. It’s also locally broadcast on Portland Radio Project.

Exhibitions: TIS regularly partners with other Portland-based organizations to create visual arts exhibitions featuring the photographs and stories of local immigrants. Since our founding, we have presented 16 different exhibitions, creating two entirely new presentations every year. These exhibitions are thematic and represent times and issues that are most important to immigrants of color. For example, “I Am My Story: Voices of Hope,” features portraits and narratives as well as objects carried by six refugee women, shining a light on different facets of Black experience from the multiple layers of adversity experienced by immigrant women of color and survivors of war and genocide. Another new exhibition, “To Bear Witness: Extraordinary Lives,” will premiere in December 2021 at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. 

Education: In addition to raising the voices of underrepresented communities and working to foster a more equitable and inclusive society, TIS provides educational opportunities in various forms, including scholarships, internship and mentoring opportunities for students. We have worked with local teachers to develop a curriculum for teaching storytelling with an equity lens for use in their schools. The Immigrant Story is now part of the curriculum at Lewis & Clark College. Beginning in the summer of 2021, Lewis & Clark offered a virtual continuing education course that trained high school teachers in how to use TIS’ reporting processes to produce immigrant stories from within their own school communities. TIS also has been incorporated into the curriculum of professors at Boston University and the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

We have mentored 24 college students and two high school students, several of whom have gone on to professional jobs in media. We have provided curricular lesson plans and workshops to high school teachers to guide their students in producing strong, informative journalism. It is heartening to learn that we are used as a learning tool in classrooms across the country, from Oregon to Arkansas to New York City.

Oral History: Since the very beginning, our interviews have been recorded, and we view them as important historical testimonies of immigrants who have come to the United States. The stories told in these interviews cover a wide range of experiences and perspectives from around the globe. We have archived oral histories from our first three years, accounting for a total of 142 recordings now housed at the Oregon Historical Society (OHS). These stories are made publicly available through OHS’ digital collection, providing broad access for researchers, historians and ethnographers for teaching, learning, and research. 

Video Docuseries: TIS, in collaboration with NW Documentary, embarked on telling a series of stories using documentary style videos for the multimedia project, “To Bear Witness: Extraordinary Lives.” We are in the process of completing six stories, with more planned for the future. These stories explore a particular theme and are presented in a series of short documentaries. 

Saron Khut, a survivor of the Cambodian Killing Fields, telling his story in front of a live audience for the recent event, “I am My Story Live.” Photo Credit: Elayna Yussen

We need your support

There are so many more stories to tell!

We are humbled and honored by the trust our expanding audience has placed in us and our work. We do not take that trust for granted. We look forward to continuing to create compelling content in a variety of forms as we broaden the conversation about the lives and contributions of immigrants and refugees who come to our shores, become our neighbors and contribute so much to our nation.

In today’s national climate, with its often xenophobic political discourse, it is important to offer a counternarrative based on facts and documentation that stresses the importance of immigrants’ contributions to our country.

That is why our work to bring high-quality content to our readers must continue.

Please help us in our mission to document the lives of our immigrant population. Your support goes a long way toward helping us grow. We are a lean and efficient organization; every dollar you provide makes an immediate impact and a world of difference!

If you’d like to donate, please follow the link below. If you’d like to join our team, we have plenty of opportunities and can always find something for you to do. Please don’t hesitate to ask. Our team is also available to speak to individuals or organizations.

Thanks for your support. 

We are a tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation incorporated in 2018 under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.