Sartell School District Parent Featured in Green Card Voices
SARTELL -- A parent in the Sartell School District is a face in the "Green Card Voices" exhibit, which has been brought to Sartell thanks to an anonymous donor.
Zurya Anjum, a VA Psychiatrist who's lived in Sartell for over a decade is also an immigrant from Pakistan.
Anjum was a doctor in Pakistan, and working on an advanced medical degree there when she decided to immigrate 19 years ago. She says life can be very difficult for a new immigrant as they try to assimilate into a new nation, saying her entire life had to be reworked.
"When you come over here you're basically unable to do anything. My degree wasn't recognized, so I had to take several exams to prove I was at the same level as US physicians. I failed my driving test twice because [in Pakistan] we drive on the other side of the road."
She says she wasn't really involved in things like Green Card Voices, until one day two years ago. That day, Anjum's son asked his mother a question, because of what other students called him at school.
"My 4th-grader came home and said 'are we terrorists' because he got called a terrorist at school. That woke me up to the fact that just because I'm protected by my education and social status, and I always get respect, that's not the case for all immigrants."
Anjum adds that she recognizes resentment toward some facilities and resources being given to immigrants nowadays. But, she says those are investments in helping them assimilate and be productive.
"I see a lot of resentment in regards to the facilities being supplied to the immigrant communities right now. But I think that's an investment in the long-term future of your community."
She says she advocates for a greater understanding of other cultures for everyone.
"Green Card Voices" in a non-profit founded in the Twin Cities back in 2013. They use a digital storytelling medium to share the experiences of people new to America.
Anjum is one of several people featured in the Green Card Voices exhibit on display at the Sartell Community Center until May 11th. The exhibit will then travel to different schools in the Sartell District until the 25th.