Short film an ice-breaker for community discussions

November 28, 2011

It isn't always easy to open up a conversation about religious diversity, immigration, and racism - sometimes we need an ice-breaker. A screening of the film Hawo's Dinner Party, and a short post-screening discussion, can lead to broader and deeper kinds of conversations to address these tough issues.


About Hawo's Dinner Party

Cover for Hawo's Dinner Party videoThis thirty-minute documentary module examines some of the challenges and opportunities a receiving community faced with the arrival of Somali Muslim refugees.  The DVD serves as a tool for community leaders – including educators, clergy, law enforcement, public officials, and employers – who are helping to integrate newcomers with unique needs, often against considerable obstacles. By focusing on the experiences of several Somali residents in Shelbyville, the module puts a human face on the complex issues we face in this time of increasing globalization. 

 In the film we meet Hawo, a refugee and former nurse who now works at a local poultry processing plant, and Mohamed, the local imam. Along with her newest neighbors, we are invited into Hawo's living room to take a walk in her shoes as she reflects on her flight from civil war, what it feels like to live in a different culture, and her vision for making this small town her permanent home.

This film opens up the conversation to address a growing distrust of new immigrants, particularly from Muslim-majority countries. It offers a valuable opportunity to reach out to them, deepen discussions, break the ice around difficult issues, and enhance cultural competency among service providers.

Resources to support these activities include a Recipes and Discussion Guide, Event Planning Toolkit and Facilitation Guide and an online Recipes section

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