October 7, 2019

Art creates opportunities to heal at Casa Alitas’ shelter for migrants

Understanding the role of expressive art in the shelter.

The Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy at the border garnered widespread attention and scrutiny over its resulting family separations. A federal judge ordered an end to the rule after more than 2,600 children had ben separated. A government watchdog report issued this summer detailed the trauma endured by children who experienced separation. While Customs and Border Protection has told us it limits instances where it separates families, their journey to the U.S. can still involve hardship.

Over the last year, hundreds of families seeking asylum have found refuge at Casa Alitas in Tucson, a short-term shelter for migrants run by Catholic Community Services. Along with sanctuary, children and adults also have the opportunity to heal through art. We learned more about the role of expressive art at the shelter from Valarie Lee James, coordinator for Casa Alitas’s Arts and Activities Program.

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