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Mount Mercy Holds a Panel Discussion on Refugees and Displaced Persons

Discussion and study of Mount Mercy Academy’s school-wide summer read, I Am Displaced by Malala Yousafzai culminated with an assembly that included a presentation from Andy Cammarata of Journey’s End and a panel discussion with Cammarata and three local refugees, including a sophomore student from Mount Mercy.

    The stories included in Yousafzai’s book made the staff and students of Mount Mercy aware of the severity of the problems faced by those who are forced to flee their countries.  The stories of the women featured in the book were heartbreaking to read about. The women experienced racism, brutality and inhumane conditions they faced.

    The women that Yousafzai wrote about helped educate the Mount Mercy community about these situations, situations which embrace the issues of immigration, racism, women, and nonviolence.  These issues are four of the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy. However the Mount Mercy English department wanted to do more, so the assembly was planned to make the experience more real for the students.

    “The assembly was educational and thought-provoking,” freshman Paige Lapadat of Orchard Park remarked. “The refugees’ stories gave me a better understanding of the life of a refugee.”

    Listening to the speakers discuss their situations enabled the audience to totally grasp that people in Western New York have lived through these horrors, but more importantly that the City of Good Neighbors has helped them to thrive as they establish new lives in a new country.

    “I found it inspiring to listen to the personal stories of actual refugees who experienced things that I can barely imagine,” Senior Tina Zambron of Lackawanna commented.  “The assembly showed me that refugees are not just faces in a textbook, but real people with feelings and families, just like me.”

    Sophomore Melina Courtney of Elma found the discussions to be very emotional.  “I was very moved by the refugees and their stories it was a meaningful panel discussion,” Courtney stated. “I also opened my eyes to today’s problems, so much so that I plan on volunteering in some way.”



"Mount Mercy has taught me some of the most important things in my life and I am so grateful for that. I know that incorporating the principles of a woman of Mercy has made me the best version of myself. I can only hope that in the future, I will continue to grow and teach others the valuable lessons that I was taught at Mount Mercy. While I have learned so many things here, the greatest thing by far that I have learned is that DNA does not always make a family, love makes a family and that is exactly what I have gained here, a second family."

Mariah Rullan

Class of 2019

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