History Department Chair Bart McMann and students representing the school’s Gray Party will facilitate a Better Angels debate, “The Future of U.S. Immigration Policy,” on Thursday, January 23 from 6 to 7:45 p.m. at the Gunn Memorial Library, 5 Wykeham Road, Washington.
Participants are invited “to explore and share views on the political realities surrounding one of the country’s most pressing and divisive issues,” the library said in a press release. “America’s immigration policies continue to change over time. Issues that frame such policy include the immigrant’s role in the labor force, rates of immigration to the U.S., and most recently, concerns about terrorism. The main question to consider is the fairness of these policies in terms of their consideration of immigrants and benefits to the United States.”
The student-led Gray Party was established several years ago by Anthony Cochrane ’18, a Republican, and Mark Choi ’18, a Democrat, with the goal of increasing civic engagement and helping students navigate the middle ground. Gunnery students have committed to carrying on the work they started, by organizing voter registration drives, attending state and local political forums, and sharing their views in ways that encourage respectful political dialogue and minimize divisiveness.
Previously, the Gray Party hosted two workshops on campus led by local representatives of Better Angels, a national, bipartisan citizens movement working to reduce political polarization and foster respectful discourse across political differences. In the October 2018 workshop, students discussed political stereotypes in relation to issues such as government and tax reform, gun rights and gun control, abortion, immigration, healthcare, education and equality. A second workshop, held in January 2019, included a “fishbowl exercise,” which encouraged students to listen to opposing viewpoints, think about what they heard, and look for common ground.
The debate on immigration policy will be held in the Gunn library’s Wykeham Room. The snow date is Thursday, January 30 at 6 p.m. To register, contact Margaret Ferguson at (860) 868-7586 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.