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Personal Connections: African Migration for Women in Roanoke

Saturday, August 25, 2018

2:00pm - 3:00pm

Please join us for this free panel discussion in support of our exhibition Reclamation: Pan-African Works from the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, on view through September 2. 

At 2pm in the Taubman Theater, a panel facilitated by Michele Deramo, Ph.D, Assistant Provost for Diversity Education at Virginia Tech. Included in the discussion will be Stephanie Holladay, Executive Director of Blue Ridge Literacy, as well as Jebet Kibogy, a refugee from Kenya, and Evelyne Nzikobaynanka, a refugee from Burundi. Ms. Kibogy and Ms. Nzikobaynanka were both participants in a collaborative project with Blue Ridge Literacy and funded by Virginia Humanities called Personal Connections, a collection of responses from the Roanoke African community to the artwork featured in the exhibition. The book features unique stories from Roanoke residents who have recently resettled from Africa, and is available to the public in the galleries. 

About the Facilitator:

Michele C. Deramo is Assistant Provost for Diversity Education at Virginia Tech. In 2004, Michele joined a community effort to resettle five Somali Bantu families in Blacksburg. This transformative experience prompted her to create a service-learning program connecting Virginia Tech students to newcomer communities in Roanoke. The program continues today as a student-led effort. Michele went on to earn her doctorate in social and cultural theory, examining narrative identity construction in diaspora. Currently, she is working with colleagues at Virginia Tech to design an interdisciplinary minor in Displacement Studies. 

About the Panelists: 

Stephanie Holladay has served several different roles at Blue Ridge Literacy since 2012. Stephanie is currently the Executive Director at BRL, and she is passionate about helping literacy learners in the Roanoke Valley by providing sustainable and effective language programs. Stephanie received her BA in English from Roanoke College and will receive her MA in Applied Anthropology from the University of North Texas this spring. Stephanie is the volunteer Steering Committee Chair of the Local Colors festival and sings with the Roanoke Valley Choral Society. When she isn't working, volunteering, or singing, you can find her on the greenway with her three dogs, Luna, Arlo, and Remy.

Jebet Kibogy is originally from from Eldoret, Kenya. She came to America as a college student on a student visa and it now a U.S. citizen. She has lived in Roanoke for over ten years and is the proud mother of a five year old son. She says her most important job has been to be a mother.