YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The YWCA opened its annual Stand Against Racism campaign in Youngstown with a panel on Thursday, discussing topics in politics, racism and immigration.
Attendees had the chance to hear the real-life stories behind three guest speakers.
“We need leaders that are talking about how to fix the problem, but do it in a way that truly recognizes human beings’ differences,” said former state senator Joe Schiavoni, one of the night’s panelists.
Another panelist was activist Lina Adi, who was brought into the spotlight on illegal immigration last year. She spoke about the heartbreak when her father, downtown business owner Al Adi, was arrested and deported, making national headlines.
“I really like being involved in the community. The community, you know, has been so helpful and so powerful when my family and I were going through things, so I think it’s important to stay part of it and still have a voice and still talk about the issues,” she said.
The third member of the panel was Reverend Salamanca, an immigrant from Colombia. He has personally connected to the devastation caused to local families by the recent ICE raids in Salem.
“I am trying to put in the minds of my children that I want them to go to college, that I want them to dream to become a police officer, a doctor, a lawyer, that they have a future,” Salamanca said.
About 20 people came out to the event. It was moderated by Dr. Alicia Prieto Langarica, a YSU professor of math and statistics from Mexico.
Attendees asked questions to the panelists about their experiences within these topics.
There will be another forum on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the YWCA office in Warren. The forum will be free to the public and focus on immigration issues.