Giving Compass' Take:

• Aspen Institute shares immigrants' stories and explains why promoting healthy dialogues between immigrants and other Americans is important. 

• How can we individually and collectively do more to open conversations with people that are different from us? How will this help us grow as a nation and as people? 

•  Read about the states in which we have fewer deportations because of sanctuary policies that encourage communication between the police force and immigrant communities.

Americans are in the midst of a conversation about our national identity. Immigrants play an essential role in this discussion. To promote cultural and civic literacy around the country, the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program is sharing the stories of four immigrants living in the US. One participant, Taif Jany, agreed to answer some of our questions and provide a list of things every American should know.

My name is Taif Jany. I am an Iraqi Mandaean and a proud immigrant in the United States. I work at the Young Elected Officials Network, a program of People For the American Way Foundation, providing support to over 1,200 elected officials across the country from all levels of government. I’m also the founder of We the Habibis, an online space dedicated to bridging cultures and building community through food.

What do you wish other Americans understood about the immigrant experience?

I wish that more American citizens who might not be as familiar with the immigrant experience would be more open to sitting down and talking to immigrants, refugees, and asylees in their communities. I don’t want to generalize, but the majority of immigrants who come to the United States have fled their home countries due to some sort of harsh reality such as war, violence, gender discrimination, racism, economic difficulties, and more. Their stories need to be heard.

Read the full article about immigrant stories at The Aspen Institute.