BRIDGE (Building a Race and Immigration Dialogue in the Global Economy)
Publication date – 2004
Developed by – National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (Eunice Hyunhye Cho, Francisco Arguelles Paz y Puente, Miriam Ching Yoom Louie, and Sasha Khokha)
Aims, objectives, and intended audience
This extensive curriculum serves as a “toolkit” for people who are working to “bridge” immigrant communities with others who are striving for economic, social, and racial justice. BRIDGE encourages participants to understand how the dynamics of privilege and oppression operate and uses this understanding of power dynamics to catalyze strategies and organizing efforts to attain mutually beneficial goals. BRIDGE’s intended audience includes organizers, community advocates, educators, leaders, and others who stand for the rights of immigrants and refugees.
Broad structure and key educational methods
BRIDGE is divided into three sections. The first, “framing tools,” provides guidance for facilitators on effective facilitation, translation techniques, evaluation tools, and other tips and activities that serve to create a space conducive to honest dialogue. The second section, which comprises the majority of this curriculum, contains eight modules. The length of the modules range from approximately 1.5 hours to 4.25 hours, with most lasting around 3 hours if completed in their entirety. The curriculum indicates which activities within each module are core exercises, thus giving prospective facilitators opportunities to amend the curriculum to fit their time constraints. The third section is a lengthy list of additional resources, including other curriculum guides, films, organizational contacts, and a glossary of terms used in BRIDGE.
A cornerstone of BRIDGE is its extensive immigration history timeline that covers major events and legislation from 1492 through the early 2000s. The module on globalization features the film Uprooted: Refugees of the Global Economy. The curriculum also contains numerous worksheets, handouts, activities, and discussion prompts to facilitate learning.
Key topics or themes by module
1. History of Immigration 101
Through the use of the BRIDGE immigration history timeline, this module seeks to help participants place both forced and voluntary migration within the context of larger economic, political, and social forces. Activities in this module introduce how racism and xenophobia have operated throughout history and explore the role of policy in displacing or excluding individuals based on race, national origin, and other characteristics.
2. Globalization, Migration, and Workers Rights
This module connects migration to globalization, thus shedding light on the push/pull factors influencing migration. Participants’ understanding of immigration and globalization is assessed through a quiz and subsequent discussions of any misconceptions that emerged. The film Uprooted: Refugees of the Global Economy helps emphasize how government and corporate policies impact workers and communities.
3. Introduction to Race, Migration, and Multiple Oppressions
The curricular materials in this module help participants to recognize the various facets of their identity (race, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc) and then situate those identities within systems of privilege and oppression. A major topic of this module is stereotypes and how they have been used to rationalize unjust policies against groups of people.
4. Migrant Rights are Human Rights!
As the title indicates, this module examines the connection between migrant rights and human rights. The content reaffirms the dignity of all human beings and uses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to explore how these are or are not present in the participants’ lives. The module includes three case studies of community human rights organizing as well as a lengthy fact sheet that summarizes the UN Migrant Rights Convention and other relevant statutes.
5. Immigrant Rights & LGBT Rights
This module explores the connections that exist between the immigrant rights movement and the rights of LGBT people. Activities uncover the societal messages we receive regarding gender and sexual orientation and associated stereotypes. Topics covered in this module include homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and xenophobia. The materials include a handout with a brief history of immigration policy’s impact on LGBT people, as well as a series of personal testimonies that highlight the challenges faced by LGBT immigrants. Participants are prompted to make the connections between various groups’ struggles for human dignity and encouraged to see the need for solidarity among groups despite differences.
6. Immigrant Women’s Leadership
This module focuses on the unique experiences of women, particularly immigrant women. In teaching about sexism, gender inequality, and gender discrimination, the curricular materials start by eliciting stories at a personal level and then broaden to examine the role of immigration policies on women’s lives in realms such as health care, education, and employment. The module closes by asking small groups to brainstorm concrete solutions to sexism and gender inequality issues that arise within participants’ organizations.
7. Finding Common Ground I: The Changing Demographics of Race and Migration
This module connects community-level demographic changes to larger U.S. trends. It places these changes and any resulting tensions that may arise in a broader historical context, thus highlighting institutional racism, economic inequality, and other forms of oppression. The module closes by moving groups towards common goals and exploring alliances as a means to help diverse groups attain mutually beneficial solutions.
8. Finding Common Ground II: Transforming Conflict in Community Organizing
This final module guides participants in discovering the ways in which they understand and define conflict. Conflict is presented as a feature of many relationships (i.e., intergroup), particularly when those relationships occur in a larger context of inequality. While not teaching mediation, this curricular material leads participants through different strategies for resolving conflict (namely, “avoidance, accommodation, confrontation, and compromise” pg. 273.) The activities, including one that uses theater/role-playing, allow participants to consider conflict transformation and visualize various solutions to conflicts.
(This module opens with a disclaimer that notes that the materials have not been tested in community settings and therefore may not be as polished as the preceding modules.)
Another supplemental BRIDGE workshop, “Building Immigrant Community Power through Legislative Advocacy,” was released in 2006. These materials define legislative advocacy in broad terms (lobbying, community education, discussing legislation, etc.) and present it as a tool for community building. Participants learn about the process through which a bill becomes a law and discuss recent immigration bills in Congress, including the DREAM Act and the REAL-ID Act. The material also covers movement building and encourages participants to envision action steps.
Moreover, NNIRR is in the process of developing additional modules for future updates to this curriculum. One of these workshops-in-progress is “Documenting Human Rights Abuses to Build Community Power.” Through a series of activities, the material introduces participants to the idea of documenting human rights abuses in their community and then helps them to develop a community-based documentation process.
Other upcoming pieces include a workshop that connects racial justice to immigrant rights. These materials will include a new, expanded timeline that focuses on key events and chronology leading to today’s border militarization. In addition, NNIRR plans to deepen the module specific to the relationship between LGBT and immigrant rights and expand the material on homophobia.
Curriculum acquisition information
The 320 page BRIDGE curriculum may be purchased through the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (http://www.nnirr.org/~nnirrorg/drupal/shop/curriculum). The ISBN is 0-9752973-0-9. Supplementary editions that feature handouts in Spanish and/or Korean are also available for purchase.