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Rescheduled: Immigration Book Club

Event rescheduled: Our final Immigration Book Club meeting of the year at The Literary will be on Wednesday, October 18th at 7pm. Thank you all for your patience while we rescheduled!


Did you know that Champaign-Urbana is home to a growing population of African immigrants? Ongoing conflict, political instability, and food insecurity have driven tens of millions of people from their homes in Sub-Saharan Africa, and many of those seeking new opportunities in the US have chosen to build their new lives in our community. While there are newcomers from all over the continent, our largest population comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congolese Community of Champaign County organization estimates that there are over 6,000 Congolese immigrants living in Champaign County! Due to this growing population, The Refugee Center employs a specialized caseworker to offer support to our new African neighbors.


The Girl Who Smiled Beads is a memoir by Clemantine Wamariya, who fled the civil war in Rwanda as a young child. The book recounts her experience seeking safety in seven different African countries over the course of six years before finally being granted refugee status in the United States. Ultimately, Wamariya was placed with an American family in the Chicago area, and the memoir also explores her experience adjusting to life in the US while reckoning with the trauma of her past.


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