La Casa Event - What is Home Without Community?

"What is Home Without "Community"? Stories of Displacement, Resilience and the Immigrant Experience.

La Casa in conjunction with FUERZA-FARMWORKERS-FUND, Co-FIRED and The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, are planning a panel discussion on social justice and community titled "What is Home Without "Community"? Stories of Displacement, Resilience and the Immigrant Experience. This event will feature a round table discussion of professionals and student organizations for a conversation on current immigration topics related to violence, resilience, health rights and the trauma of displacement. (Friday October 1st Ookpik Auditorium, Life Sciences Building @ 7:30 pm).

Scholars engaged in multidisciplinary fields ranging from medicine to law and activism will partake their life experience and areas of research to facilitate dialogue and to better understand the multi-faceted immigrant phenomenon, its repercussions upon both our identity and collective sense of community, and the emotions and behavioral expressions associated with it.

A moderated round-table discussion with an informal meet-and-greet dinner will furnish an opportunity for students and the Dartmouth community to learn about the effects of community displacement and marginalization on mental health. Domestic violence in the migrant communities in miscellaneous contexts and perspectives will also be discussed.


  • Juan Carlos Vélez is a plastic, maxillofacial, hand and reconstructive surgeon. He is the founder of "IQ Te quiere" a nonprofit organization that supports children victims of sociopolitical violence and displacement with plastic, Otorhinolaryngology, Orthopedics and Urology surgical procedures.  Since 2007, his foundation has performed over 1000 surgeries at no cost for children of  Antioquia department. In 2016,  Dr Velez was awarded by Colombia's President with the medal of "Order of Democracy Simón Bolivar" for his social commitment to improving the health quality of children in the Antioquia department. In 2018 he was also awarded with the "Orden Pedro Nel Ospina Vázquez in the category: Gran Cruz" a distinction for his social impact. Dr Vélez will host a lecture about "obligatory displacement, vulnerability and the absence of health rights for children." Dr Velez will share with us the challenges and stories of resilience and extreme poverty of communities in the Antioquia department.
  • Daniel Londoño has a Master's degree in clinical Neuropsychology. His research focuses on trauma, neurocognition, and psychopathology with victims of displacement. He is a Neuropsychology professor at San Buenaventura University in Medellin and a clinical research associate at Medical Device's Contract Research Association. Professor Londoño will share his experiences and findings in "Brain Trauma and Development: Brain Functioning on Victims of Displacement of Sociopolitical Violence and Oppression in Colombia." Professor Londoño has extensive experience working with this phenomenon and its side effects on mental health. He will also address how individual trauma impacts the collective mind.
  • Suzanne Serat is a dear member of the Upper Valley community. She is a retired mid-wife who trains indigenous Guatemalan women in midwifery. She is also an activist and member of RISE and Migrant Justice. Before the pandemic she was in El Paso, Texas working at Annunciation House, a charity that helps immigrants at the border seeking asylum and reuniting with their family members. Suzanne will speak about the conditions at Border Patrol facilities and the emotional devastation wrought upon children that are separated from their parents. She will also talk about the initiatives of various organizations that provide assistance for families.