For the past 40 years, Alternate ROOTS has been a champion of, and resource for, artists, cultural workers, and progressive movement building in the southern United States. Immigration to the South has increased dramatically since the early nineties and this boom continues through the present. According to the Migration Policy Institute, four of the five states with the largest percentage growth of immigrants between 2000 and 2012 were in the South (Zong and Batalova 2015). As a network of artists committed to creating work rooted in community, place, tradition, or spirit, it is vital that we are allied with the South's immigrant communities and invested in globally engaged creative practice domestically.

This year, two of Alternate ROOTS Partners in Action projects shine a light on the experiences of immigrant communities in the Deep South. Both artists are themselves multilingual immigrants. Elise Witt, a Swiss-born daughter of Nazi Germany survivors, serves as the director of music programs at the Global Village Project in Decatur, GA. Drawing on her 40-plus-year career as a musician, Witt is working with a team of educators and artists to develop curriculum that empowers teenage female refugee students to navigate their new world with confidence and creativity. In New Orleans, Ecuadorian-born, New York/New Jersey-raised Torres-Tama employs the poetry, visual, and performance art practices he has honed over decades to ensure that the enormous contributions Latina/o immigrants made to post-Katrina reconstruction are not forgotten. Earlier this year, Nicole Gurgel, ROOTS' content developer, spoke with these longtime members about their globally engaged creative practices.

By bearing witness to immigrant experiences in the South, Witt and Torres-Tama's collective body of work resists and complicates the black/white polemic that has long defined both the region and the nation's racial paradigm. Positioning their work within the context of European colonization, cross-Atlantic slave trade, and late-twentieth-century US imperialism, Witt and Torres-Tama reveal the ways in which global conflict and resistance to it has been, and continues to be, woven into the fabric of the South. As artists, their work not only illuminates these issues, but also underscores the power and value of engaging with them through the arts.

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