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  • Facing deportation, a father takes sanctuary in a Maplewood church

    By Carolina Hidalgo

    When the letter from immigration officials came in the mail in September, Carly Garcia knew her life was about to change.

    Panicked, she opened the envelope then called her husband, Alex, and told him to rush home.

    In the past, immigration agents had given Alex Garcia temporary permission to live in the United States with Carly and their five children. But now, the letter said, he had two weeks to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office for deportation.

    From their home in Poplar Bluff, in southeast Missouri, Carly Garcia made a frantic call to an attorney, who put her in touch with immigration activists. They told her Alex had two options.

    He could do as immigration officials had ordered and report to an ICE office to be jailed and sent back to the Honduran countryside he left nearly two decades ago. Or he could seek sanctuary in a church.

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  • These seventh graders are helping teachers learn all about microaggressions

    BCarolina Hidalgo

    When Anjali Adhikari and Niah Ester teamed up for a class project last summer, they had one goal – to teach educators at Northeast Middle School all about microaggressions.

    The seventh graders never imagined their work would make it from their Creve Coeur school into classrooms across the St. Louis region. But since then, they’ve created and led training sessions for dozens of teachers, counselors and school administrators.

    Their mission is personal. The students are often on the receiving end of microaggressions – comments or questions, usually delivered casually, that insult people and reinforce negative stereotypes.

    Because the comments often come from adults, the 12-year-olds developed activities to help their teachers recognize and address microaggressions.

    “If a teacher says something kind of derogatory to a student, that’s gonna stay in their mind,” Niah said. “That’s gonna affect them for the rest of their lives.”

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