‘Hidden Voices: The Immigrant Experience in Southwest Florida’ takes place October 23

SARASOTA, FL – The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is pleased to kick off the 2017-2018 WBTT Voices program with its first event of the season. On Monday, October 23 at 6:30 p.m., WBTT presents “Hidden Voices: The Immigrant Experience in Southwest Florida,” a timely, informative, and emotional panel discussion about the immigrant experience in this area and the immigration issues we’re facing as a nation today. 

Moderator is Kelly Kirschner, who currently serves as the vice president and dean of the division of executive and continuing education at Eckerd College and as the chairman of the board of UnidosNow, a nonprofit that provides education programs and promotes civic integration for Latinos in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Kirschner is also known for being the youngest commissioner in the history of the City of Sarasota.

Panelists are: Luz Corcuera, the executive director of UnidosNow, who emigrated from Peru to Canada before moving to Florida in 2000; Lucero Guzman, a freshman at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee who immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 1; Anila Jain, M.D., M.B.A., a physician and medical consultant who is also an active child advocate and volunteer in numerous organizations at the local, state, and national level – her family moved from India to Sarasota when she was 5 years old; and Dr. Eddy Regnier, M.S.W., Ph.D., the founder and director of Assessment and Psychotherapy Services, Inc. – he immigrated to the U.S. from Port-au-Prince in 1959. The panelists will describe their unique journeys to the Suncoast, discussing the issues they faced integrating into American society, topics that are specific to their experiences, expertise and passions, the contributions of immigrants, and today’s top immigration issues.

"While our focus continues to be on the African-American experience and issues, we are also proud to mentor and train artists of diverse ethnic backgrounds, some of whom come here from other countries,” said WBTT executive director Julie Leach. “We felt this program would be particularly appropriate as we presented In the Heights – a story about a Latino community where residents chase the American dream while clinging to their roots – on our mainstage. We invite community members to hear directly from incredible panelists who have made their way to the U.S. and are working to achieve the American dream.”

The WBTT Voices program, a free service WBTT offers for the community, examines the people and issues that have shaped the African-American experience in our country. WBTT Voices was launched in 2014; all programs have been at full capacity.

“WBTT Voices” programs take place at the WBTT theater (1646 10th Way, Sarasota). Free and open to the public but reservations are required. RSVP by calling the Box Office at (941) 366-1505 or reserving a seat at westcoastblacktheatre.org.

About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe:

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. is the only professional black theater company on Florida’s West Coast. The mission is to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates the African-American experience, to attract diverse audiences, to support and develop African-American artists, and to build the self-esteem of African-American youth. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.