Identity, voice and community were the topics of discussion at a forum about new African immigrants and their lives in Kansas.
The discussion Monday night at the Lawrence Public Library was part of a Kansas University research project. The Kansas African Studies Center has been documenting immigrants' stories of how they came to Kansas and how they are integrating into society.
One of the main issues facing immigrants is their identity, said Khalid M. El-Hassan, program director at the Kansas African Studies Center. "People will not differentiate them from African-Americans," he said. "They need to be different."
The project, supported by the Kansas Humanities Council, began collecting data in January 2005. Another forum open to the public is scheduled for May 1 at Jewish Vocational Services, 1608 Baltimore in Kansas City, Mo.