CASA’s Crossing Borders Project is based on a multicultural curriculum developed in-house by CASA in collaboration with the Center for Community Change and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, and with funding from the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The curriculum discusses recent demographic shifts among African Americans and Latino immigrants, the historical antecedents to existing tensions between African Americans and Latino immigrants, the interplay between jobs, race and immigration, and the process for moving from dialogue to action. The workbook contains the following sections:
- Demographic Shifts among African Americans and Immigrants – As its title suggests, this unit provides data on demographic changes in African American and immigrant communities over the past 20 years.
- The History of Domination and the Pursuit of Opportunity – This unit explores issues confronting African Americans and immigrants from a historical perspective. It also includes a timeline of African American and immigrant history.
- Five Dimensions of the African American and Immigrant Tension – This unit explores the root of the existing tensions between the two communities.
- Jobs, Race, and Immigration – This unit examines the economic predicaments facing African Americans and immigrants.
- Additional Resources – This unit includes resources that African American and immigrant groups can use to move from dialogue to action, including how to run an effective meeting, how to conduct a “relational meeting,” as well as a reading and resource list.
Following the development of this curriculum, CASA began its Crossing Borders Project in August 2008 with support from the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office and the Ford Foundation. This project is primarily aimed at improving relationships between Latino immigrants and African Americans in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. CASA’s experience has shown that these two geographic areas can benefit the most from this type of cultural awareness training, which will work to dispel misperceptions and replace them with a sense of common struggle and understanding to create the foundation for strong, vibrant, diverse communities.