Skip to content Skip to navigation

Twenty Years Accompanying Immigrants and Refugees Program Schedule

Twenty Years Accompanying Immigrants and Refugees Program Schedule

Published: August 21, 2018


“Join us for a day as we reflect on the past 20 years and recollect how we have walked alongside the Central Valley’s immigrants and refugees through their journeys for justice.”

The Pan-Valley Institute (PVI) was launched in 1998 as a pilot project under a Civic Participation Initiative supported by the James Irvine Foundation. It was envisioned that PVI would promote a popular education approach that would enhance the American Friend’s Service Committee’s (AFSC) long-standing farmworker organizing and advocacy program work in the Central Valley. The prevailing goal has been to provide resources and support that will allow immigrant and refugee communities to lead and thrive in the Central Valley.  

Over the past 20 years, PVI has brought together diverse groups of grassroots immigrant leaders from across cultures, ethnicities, genders and generations in popular education workshops and gatherings. We have learned that although current immigrants and refugees are struggling with experiences of social isolation, economic inequality, marginalization, and cultural discrimination, they are determined to build a productive and enriching place for themselves in California’s Central Valley. PVI’s efforts have provided safe spaces for dialogue and have encouraged immigrants to support one another as they build community cohesiveness, a sense of belonging and find an active place to contribute to their new society. 

The ongoing struggles of our ever-increasing immigrant and refugee populations only serve to reinforce the importance of the work we’re doing at PVI. It is our hope to start the next 20 years of our quest for justice and equality by focusing on how far we have come, and to begin blazing a trail forward, as we still have far to go.


Friday, October 26, 2018

Noon – 9:30 p.m.
Curator: Tony Carranza

Se Hace Camino al Andar/ We Make the Road by Walking
Named in honor of a poem by Spanish writer Antonio Machado (1875-1939), “We Make the Road by Walking” represents how each person’s unique journey creates the road of life down which we walk.

Through photos taken by well-known photographers that include David Bacon, Terry Foss (†), Eduardo Stanley, Tudor Stanley and Miguel Zafra, this multimedia exhibit narrates how the Pan Valley Institute has accompanied the Central Valley’s immigrants and refugees on their journeys for the past 20 years. It illustrates how these newcomers to a society that doesn’t always understand or accept them are able to navigate a new path towards improving their lives.

Curator: Dayanna Sevilla

An important part of our fundraising efforts, the silent auction features one-of-a- kind prints from the Pan Valley Institute’s private collection, along with other unique items donated by local artists, businesses and supporters. One of the most notable items up for bid is the 8x12 foot mural “Crack of Dawn,” a collaborative work by acclaimed author Tim Z. Hernandez and gifted muralist Ramiro Martinez. Commissioned by PVI for the Tamejavi Festival, “Crack of Dawn” depicts the reality of immigrants in contemporary North America through symbolic and representational imagery utilizing land, labor and struggle as its primary focus. It exemplifies the tragedies and victories of the immigrant experience in a raw look at the plight of the Valley’s invisible populations.

Noon – 2 p.m.
Curator: Estela Galvan
Facilitator: Brenda Ordaz, TCOFP Alumna

Heirlooms: Meals & Stories that Nourish

The cultural kitchen has long been a staple of PVI’s cultural organizing practices. It was started in 2000 by a group of Hmong, Latina and Indigenous Mexican women who believed a food exchange would enhance their efforts to reach a cultural understanding of their commonalities and differences. Since then, PVI has celebrated numerous cultural kitchens, a practice that has served as an exercise to strengthen multiethnic relationships through the process of learning about shared migration journeys.
This particular cultural kitchen highlights the food of Syrian refugees who began arriving in Fresno in late 2016. Former Fresno Poet Laureate Lee Herrick will present excerpts of the cookbook “Syrian Recipes from Home” by Nour Al Mshantaf, owner of Nour Catering. Nour and her family fled war-torn Syria and spent two years in a refugee camp before being accepted as refugees to the U.S. in 2016. The cookbook is a way for her to honor her heritage and family traditions.
Also featured will be Hmong, Zapoteco, Mixteco, Cambodian, Iranian and Iraqi cuisines, highlighting the chefs and entrepreneurs that are emerging from these communities and helping to add new flavors to the Valley’s already rich cultural diversity.
Amongst those participating is Juan Santiago Ramirez, an alumnus of PVI’s fellowship program, who will be sharing food from his new restaurant, Sazon Zapoteca, which features Oaxacan food from Mexico’s Zapoteco region. Now a political science major at Fresno State, Ramirez became the first member of his family to graduate from high school after they immigrated to Madera.
Also serving Oaxacan food will be Colectivo Sabor a Mi Tierra, which was founded by Rosa Hernandez and Silvia Rojas, two Mixteco immigrants who have been active participants in PVI. After years spent working in the fields while also raising children, the women combined their knowledge of traditional authentic Mixteco dishes to open Madera’s Colectivo Sabor a Mi Tierra in 2014.

Serving up sweet treats will be Garrafa Ice Cream & Treats, the Fresno shop that offers 18 flavors of ice cream and unique items like changomango (mango sorbet with fresh mango) and horchata especial (horchata with coconut or chongos ice cream, cantaloupe, pineapple, pecan and coconut). The home-made ice cream known as garrafa was started in Mexico by Italian immigrants that found a unique way to modify their native Gelato recipes.

2 – 8 p.m.
Teresa Castillo

Festival participants are invited to take a piece of cloth and write whatever they want about their culture, their history, or their thoughts and feelings regarding the migration of people in the past, present, and future. Each piece of cloth will be pinned to another and hung to form banners of feelings, experiences, intentions, and stories from our culturally diverse community. The colorful banners will hang as a visual expression of our unity, honor, and support for all immigrants, refugees, and displaced persons.

3 – 5 p.m.
Myrna Martinez N, Minerva Mendoza

This round of platicas (community dialogues) is open to the public and provides space for engaging in dialogue about current affairs impacting immigrants, refugees and all people of color as a result of the negative rhetoric and criminalizing policies promoted by the current administration. Discussion topics will include:

Platica #1
A Gender Perspective on Leadership
(Game Room)

A candid and open dialogue that addresses the challenges women in leadership face due to the expectations society places on them because of their gender.

Presenters: Lee Lor, Board of Supervisors, District 2, Merced; Oralia Maceda, Women’s Coordinator, Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales; Rosa Hernández, Owner and Founder, Colectivo Sabor a Mi Tierra

Platica #2
Protecting Love, Counteracting Hate
(Main Hall/Photo Exhibit)

Following the sentiment of “What affects you affects me,” participants will engage in an open dialogue about the current hate crime activity in their communities. They will share how they’re counteracting hate crimes in an effort to understand one another, stand in solidarity with their neighbors, and ultimately work together to protect love, compassion and respect for our differences.

Facilitator: Sandy Close, Ethnic Media Service
Presenter: Naindeep Singh, Jakara Movement Executive Director

Platica #3
An Interfaith Vision on Human Migration
(Main Hall)

The intention of this dialogue is to bring together diverse faith leaders in an effort to provide different lenses to the complexities of human migration from a faith-based perspective. Furthermore, we will explore how the faith-based and religious community should respond in the face of anti-migration policies impacting their members.

Facilitator: Jim Grant, Director, Social Justice Ministry
Presenters: Pastor Jeff Loven, The Bridge Church; Hajj Reza Nekumanesh, Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno; Rev. Tim Kutzmark, Unitarian; Universalist Church of Fresno; Graciela Martinez, Visalia Friends Meeting

Platica #4
U.S. History of Exclusion
(Photo Exhibit Room)

This platica will provide spaces to share the immigration history of exclusion experienced by different communities in the Central Valley, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Japanese internment camps during World War II, and the currently policies like the building of a wall and the Muslim ban.

Facilitator: Mario Sifuentez, Associate Professor of History, UC Merced

Presenters: Native American: Helen Coats; African American: Professor Kehinde Solwasi; Chinese Exclusion Act: Professor Franklin Ng; Japanese Internment Camp: Saburo Masada, Brynn Saito; Muslim Ban: Wasan Abu-Baker, TCOFP alumna; Building the Wall: Pedro Rios, AFSC San Diego Program

5:30 – 6 p.m.
Vic Yellow Hawk White

Following the tradition started during the first Tamejavi Festival in 2002, this space acknowledges the history and long-time presence in the Central Valley of our Native American brothers and sisters. Conducted by Angie Osborn, from the Chonumni tribe, this blessing ceremony will spiritually guide us into closing one cycle of work and opening a new one.

6:10 – 9:30 p.m.
To commemorate PVI’s first 20 years, we mark both our accomplishments and the challenges we face while preparing for the next cycle of work. As we begin writing the next chapter in our story of supporting the immigrant movement and building influence, we celebrate with stories, music and poetry, and gather in joy with our longtime friends, constituency and supporters

6:10 – 6:40 p.m.
Meeting Old Friends Making New Ones
Background Music

6:40 – 7:40 p.m.
Visiting Multimedia Exhibit
And Silent Auction

7:50 – 8:05 p.m.
Danzantes de Aztlán
Recognized as Official Ambassadors of the University, Los Danzantes de Aztlán was founded in 1970 by Prof. Ernesto Martinez in the Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies at California State University, Fresno. Currently directed by Dr. Victor Torres, the vibrant Danzantes offer a spectacular and colorful expression of Mexican regional dances and consistently earns top awards in national and international folkloric dance competitions. They have been featured in the prestigious San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival for the past 3 years and play a very important role in fostering cultural pride and cultural appreciation both on and off-campus.

8:05 – 9 p.m.
Where do We Go from Here? Imagining a Shared Vision
As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, this is an important time to reflect on our past accomplishments while developing a plan for moving forward. In April 2018 we began development of our strategic plan, which will be completed by September 2019. Starting in October 2019, we will have a renewed work plan informed by a new shared vision, the larger AFSC organizational strategic plan, an in-depth problem analysis, a programmatic analysis, and a list of resources, including the institutional, leadership and staff capacity needed to reach our new vision, and the intended results for the upcoming ten years.

9 – 9:30 p.m.

SETI X aka Mandeep
Seti is a Los Angeles based MC building bridges between California and India. Referred to by GQ Magazine as "India's booming hip hop scene's new voice", SETI X is a veteran of rocking the microphone and raising consciousness. SETI X is a versatile artist whose global reach has only strengthened over time. Most recently, SETI X opened up for Prophets Of Rage, the new super group with Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill, and Public Enemy.

SETI X is a 2018 Recipient of the “Freedom Now Award”, recognized by the Los Angeles Community Action Network for his activist work in the Skid Row Houseless Community of LA. His most recent accomplishments appearing on CNN’s Emmy Award Winning Show “United Shades of America” with W. Kamau Bell. On the episode, W. Kamau and SETI discuss what it means to be a South Asian American Sikh Hip-Hop Artist from California.

La Banda San Martin Itunyoso
Based in Madera, La Banda San Martín Itunyoso was founded in 2015. Most of its members are second generation immigrant children of families from the Triqui region of San Martín Itunyoso, Oaxaca.