Immigrants, refugees in Oregon the subject of ‘Crucial Conversations’ discussion

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Global displacement is on the rise, thanks to intractable conflicts, economics, and climate change. Oregonians have and will continue to see the results of international migration in their neighborhoods.

man wearing knit cap posing with waterfall in background

Manuel Padilla.

Whether through a lack of empathy or personal experience there tends to be a conceptual or emotional space between those who consider themselves to be “locals” and newly arrived immigrant and refugee groups. As a result, people find it tough to bridge this gap. Portland Community College students, faculty, and staff are coming together to find ways to connect and welcome those who are considered “others” in order to build more informed, responsive, resilient, and vibrant communities.

This is the focus of “The Space Between Us: Immigrants, Refugees, and Oregon,” a free interactive discussion with Manuel Padilla from 1-2:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23 in the Event Center, Rock Creek Campus. The discussion is sponsored by Oregon Humanities.

Padilla has done peace work in Haiti, Chad, and Washington, D.C., working with displaced people, immigrants and refugees. Currently, he implements reconciliation workshops with the Jesuit Refugee Service and works with youth through “restorative justice” frameworks. He also volunteers with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s Circles of Support and Accountability Program.

Refreshments will be provided and RSVPs are welcome, but not required. To attend, email

About Alfredo V. Moreno

Alfredo joined PCC in September of 2018 as the community relations manager for the Rock Creek Campus in Washington County. Born in the border city of El Paso, Texas, Alfredo grew up in the timber town of Roseburg in Southern Oregon before e... more »