Brian Jennings, who teaches a Bosnian-American studies course at Affton High School, reflects on the impact of the refugee community.
SOURCE: St. Louis Magazine
“In the last couple years, we have come to see Bosnian-Americans as part of Affton’s identity. There’s a neighborliness—in Bosnia, people would leave their doors open and walk in and out of each other’s houses. I started teaching a Bosnian-American studies course—we like to say it’s the only one on the planet, at least at the high school level—and it became obvious to me that it was a community class, not just me teaching. So we reached out and had an overwhelming response—community leaders, filmmakers, writers…this amazing community that has been wanting to be involved for 20 years. Now there are all sorts of community activities, and our students are interviewing Bosnian-Americans for the Bosnian Memory Project at Fontbonne University. If you say refugees can’t assimilate, especially Muslim refugees, you have to completely ignore the Bosnian-American community.” —Brian Jennings, who teaches English and film at Affton High School