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"Welcome to Shelbyville" Screening and Panel Discussion

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 24, 2011


Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration Eric P. Schwartz will moderate a panel discussion following a screening of the PBS film “Welcome to Shelbyville” on Wednesday, May 25, from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. in the George Marshall Conference Center at the Department of State.

This award-winning film offers a snapshot of a town long defined by its history of racial tension between African American and white residents dating back to the end of the Civil War. After roughly 150 years of racial strife, Shelbyville, Tennessee now faces a new challenge. The film explores the mindset of town residents as they begin to experience integration on a global scale, dealing not only with a growing Latino population, but also the more recent arrival of hundreds of Somali refugees.

Assistant Secretary Schwartz and CEO and President of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Patricia Harrison will deliver opening remarks. After the film, there will be a panel discussion with the following participants:

  • Assistant Secretary Eric Schwartz;
  • Ken Tota, Deputy Director, Office of Refugee Resettlement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  •  Kim Snyder, Director of "Welcome to Shelbyville";
  • Marilyn Massengale, a fourth generation Shelbyville resident; and
  • Abdishakur Mohamed, a resettled Somali refugee and Shelbyville resident.

This event is open to credentialed members of the media. Digital recording of the film “Welcome to Shelbyville” is not permitted; however, digital recording of the panel discussion is permitted. Final access time for press: 12:40 p.m. at the 21st St. Entrance

In order to attend this event, journalists must show either an identification card issued by a U.S. government agency (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense, or Foreign Press Center); a media-issued photo identification card; or a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist along with an official photo identification card (driver's license, passport).

For more information, contact Beth Schlachter, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration;; (202) 453-9367.

PRN: 2011/823

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