Help ask the tough questions…

  • What strategies best help undocumented immigrants build resilience to trauma? 
  • To what extent do differences in real or perceived legal status—refugee, undocumented, immigrant—have implications for those strategic integration approaches?
  • What is the current state of policies that exist with respect to deportation? 
  • How can government lessen the trauma for undocumented children and their families?
... and leave with answers that lead to action!



What is Trauma? 

According to the Center for Nonviolence & Social Justice, "the word “trauma” is used to describe experiences or situations that are emotionally painful and distressing, and that overwhelm people’s ability to cope, leaving them powerless. Trauma has sometimes been defined in reference to circumstances that are outside the realm of normal human experience. Unfortunately, this definition doesn’t always hold true. For some groups of people, trauma can occur frequently and become part of the common human experience.

In addition to terrifying events such as violence and assault, we suggest that relatively more subtle and insidious forms of trauma—such as discrimination, racism, oppression, and poverty—are pervasive and, when experienced chronically, have a cumulative impact that can be fundamentally life-altering.

Particular forms of trauma, such as intentional violence and/or witnessing violence, sustained discrimination, poverty, and ensuing chaotic life conditions are directly related to chronic fear and anxiety, with serious long-term effects on health and other life outcomes."


Please click here for full bios of the panelists. 

Saida Abdi, LICSW, MSW, MA
Associate Director, Community Relations, Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center, Boston Children's Hospital
Elizabeth Badger
Senior Attorney, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Kathleen Flinton, MAR, MSW, LICSW
Associate Clinical Director, Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights, Boston Medical Center
Patricia Montes
Executive Director, Centro Presente
Diane Randolph, MS, MFA
Director, Community Building Unit, Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants
Jeffrey Gross
Director, New Americans Integration Institute, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition

Seminar Packet

The following items were included in the packet materials:

Additional Resources