When Pedro Pan Came to Nashville Film screening and panel discussion

A short film about migrating peoples and a panel discussion on our cultural responses to "otherness"

March 2, 2023
7:30 pm
The Belcourt
Panelists Include
Karla McKanders, JD, M.T.S.  –  Mariano Sana, Ph.D.  –  Fernando Segovia, Ph.D.  –  Mohamed-Shruki Hassan, M.A.  –  Jose Gonzalez, D.B.A.  –  Jon Kent, M.Ed.
Learn more about panelists
$10 for Students | $25 for General Admission
Snacks and refreshments with ticket admission. Concessions available.

Imagine if you were a child displaced from your home country, suddenly separated from your parents, and grappling to fit in among strangers.

When Pedro Pan Came to Nashville, a film directed by Jon Kent, was produced by Catholic Charities and tells the story of the young Fernandez brothers. Luis, Carlos, and Pablo were among 14,000 children evacuated from Cuba in 1960-62. Forty-three of those children settled in Nashville in 1962 and lived with foster families for months to years before being reunited with family members.

The Fernandezes lived a comfortable life in Cuba, but fearing for their children’s safety amid the communist takeover of the island nation, they arranged for their three sons to escape via the underground Operation Pedro Pan, not knowing if they would ever see them again. The initiative is the largest recorded exodus of unaccompanied minors in the Western Hemisphere. What became of those children? Our film provides an answer.

The sudden and rapid evacuation of Afghanistan in the fall of 2021 galvanized U.S. public opinion favorably regarding refugees, as Americans supported those who had fought alongside U.S. troops to defeat the Taliban.

Images of Ukrainian suffering dominates American media. Displacement, loss of everything that is familiar, forced migration—this is what we see in the current conflict a world away. And yet these crises occurred repeatedly in the recent past as well as over the long trajectory of war and conflict.

Disagreement about who to allow into our country, and how many of those “other” people to allow in, has been part of the dialogue among citizens in the United States for more than 100 years.

Karla McKanders, JD, M.T.S.
Vanderbilt University

McKanders is Clinical Professor of Law at Vanderbilt, Associate Director of Vanderbilt’s Legal Clinic, and the founding Director of the Immigration Practice Clinic. She is an expert on the efficacy of immigration policies, laws, and legal institutions charged with processing migrants. She chairs the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration.

Mariano Sana, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University

Sana is Associate Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. His main area of research is international migration, including causes of international migration, migration of the highly skilled, migrant incorporation, refugee migrants in the United Sates, and public opinion on refugees and Americans’ attitudes toward immigration reform. Professor Sana is native of Argentina and a United States citizen.

Fernando Segovia, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt Divinity School

Segovia is the Oberlin Graduate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Vanderbilt Divinity School. His interests include the historical trajectory of the field, the analysis of biblical texts and contexts in terms of social and cultural formations, and the analysis of appeals to the bibilical texts in social and cultural debates. Professor Segovia came to the United States as a migrant adolescent, a political refugee, from Cuba in 1961.

Mohamed-Shruki Hassan, M.A.
Mayor’s Office of New Americans

Mohammed is Director of the Office of New Americans in the Metropolitan Nashville Mayor’s office. Mohamed is a civically engaged social entrepreneur with significant experience in community organizing and grassroots advocacy. He is the former Director of the Welcoming Tennessee Initiative at Tennessee Immigrants and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). He previously served on the Mayor’s New Americans Advisory Council and sits on the board of directors of the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE), TIRRC, and is a founding member of American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC). Mohamed is a graduate of Tennessee State University and holds a Master’s from Lipscomb University.

Jose Gonzalez, D.B.A.
Belmont University

Moderator Gonzalez is Associate Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at Belmont University. Dr. Gonzalez cofounded Conexion Americas in 2002, at a time when the immigrant community had begun to experience tremendous growth in Nashville. His work on programs to help Latino families belong, contribute, and succeed in Nashville and across the state, has been widely recognized.

Jon Kent, M.Ed.
Kent Creative

Kent is a documentary filmmaker and founding creative director of  Kent Creative, a media production company serving the nonprofit sector. Jon’s film about former Tennessee death row inmate Abu Ali Abdul-Rahman,  You Don’t Know Me,  was the most watched  film at the 2020 Nashville Film Festival  and won both the Tennessee Features category and an Audience Award.  Jon and his wife, Lisa Goodpaster,  have made several films about a rare genetic condition called Williams Syndrome, including the documentary “A Stampede of Happiness,” which is available on Amazon Prime.  Jon has produced hundreds of films for nonprofits around the country, including  Harvard University, the University of Southern California, Cornell University and the Dan Marino Foundation.