Mrs. Maureen Lasdas 11th grade religion classes at Christian Brothers Academy recently welcomed Kip Hargrave, a former Maryknoll missionary who served in El Salvador for a number of years under the direction of Archbishop Oscar Romero to speak with students about immigration and the impact of refugees on Central New York.
“Each year, more than 70,000 new refugees come to the United States, more than any other non-neighboring country in the world,” said Hargrave, the retired director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement for Catholic Charities in Syracuse.
“What good does it do Syracuse to bring refugees here?” Hargrave asked during his two days of visiting classes at CBA. Answers like “improve diversity” and “expanding our cultural awareness” quickly surfaced. But Mr. Hargrave explained that in addition to these things, refugees help combat the population decline that Syracuse faces and in-turn circulate money and growth in the Central New York economy.
After watching Romero, a film that retraces the circumstances in El Salvador during the turbulent time of Archbishop Oscar Romero, students were better able to connect to Mr. Hargraves first-hand account and understand the cultural and economic impact refugees have in our region.
Caption: Mr. Kip Hargrave and Mrs. Lasda.