Strangers In Town Screening

September 17, 2020
6:00pm Pacific Time
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Join us as we celebrate Welcoming Week with a movie and discussion! Presented in partnership with Tacoma Refugee Choir. We'll watch the short documentary, Strangers in Town, and hear from refugee and immigrant members of our own community after.

STRANGERS IN TOWN tells the story of how global migration unexpectedly transformed and enriched Garden City, Kansas. It brought great challenges to the community, including demands for housing, social services, education, and infrastructure. For the current students at Garden City High School, the town’s remarkable diversity is all they’ve ever known. STRANGERS IN TOWN gives new meaning to the city’s motto: “the world grows here,” and provides an inspiring view of human possibility in the face of change.

Following the movie, refugee and immigrant members from our own community will share their stories, experiences and reactions to the video.

Welcoming Week is a national movement in which communities gather to recognize and celebrate the contributions of immigrants to our communities and bring people together across lines of difference to develop greater understanding and mutual support.

Video Descriptions

Strangers In Town Screening Preview Card

Tacoma Refugee Choir - "Be Counted" [Official Music Video] Census Song

"Be Counted" was written and created to promote participation in the 2020 Census by all communities. "Be Counted" by Tacoma Refugee Choir Featuring vocals by Princess Guinto, Rocky Sandoval, Rani Weatherby, Mariia Pozhar, Tina Van, Sophia Palacios, Sarah Tweet, and Wanz Music & Lyrics by: Erin Guinup, Tina Van, Trésor Rubaduka John, & Sarah Tweet Director: Laila Kazmi Executive Producer: Erin Guinup Produced by: Kazbar Media Audio Production and Mix: Tor Caspersen Choreography: Vorece Miller-Batchman Musicians: Terry O'Hara, keys Princess Guinto, bass Antonio Gomez, percussion Kareem Kandi, saxophone Andy Omdahl, trumpet Gary Shutes, trombone Takuya Masutani, taiko drum Please visit to learn more about completing the Census and BE COUNTED! LYRICS Sometimes I think My voice is just too small The problems too Big for us to solve But simple things Can change the narrative One filled with hope The chance to thrive and live PRE-CHORUS Ten minutes, ten questions, ten years that are shaped By taking a moment to participate. CHORUS Be counted, a better future for my family, Be counted, money comes to my community Be counted, I’m represented and can get what we need Be counted, be counted, there’s power in being counted Oh, oh Be counted, be counted, there’s power in being counted It’s just a form No need to be afraid It can’t be used To hurt you in anyway You have the power For you and neighbors too To be heard and Claim what we are due. PRE-CHORUS CHORUS Who wants Health care...BE COUNTED Roads & Bridges...BE COUNTED Jobs & Training...BE COUNTED Schools for our kids...BE COUNTED Representation...BE COUNTED Good nutrition...BE COUNTED Parks & Housing...BE COUNTED You count so you should be counted! CHORUS Cinematographer: Ryan Purcell SteadiCam Operator: Daniel Mimura Gaffer: Mike Walker Camera Assistant: Ryan Enkema Drone Footage: Corvus Eye Media Storyboard Artist: Pat Moriarity Production Assistant: Zara K Barsotti Additional Footage: Vinny Dom Editor & Colorist: Tess Stuart Post Production: Clatter&Din Special Thanks Tacoma Art Museum City of Tacoma Tacoma Public Library Digital Media Lab Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center (T.U.P.A.C.) Tacoma Fire Department and Fire Chief Toryono Green Mayor Victoria Woodards Nayeli Soto Mondragon and Mycah Hopkins (and their parents) SeaMar Community Health Centers Tacoma Pierce County Health Department Latinos Unidos of South Sound ASPIRE- Pierce College, Taiko club Hearts 4 Kids Asia Pacific Cultural Center Kwabi Amoah-Forson and The Peace Bus Tacoma Peace Queen Melannie Denise Cunningham Tacoma Urban League Thyme Well Spent Catering Lutheran Community Services Northwest- Refugee Resettlement Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation Tacoma Community House Tacoma School District Museum of Glass Greater Tacoma Community Foundation US Census Bureau Tacoma Refugee Choir members, board and staff Made possible through funding from: Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Washington Census Equity Fund- Philanthropy Northwest Tacoma Refugee Choir donors To learn more about the Census, visit

Strangers in Town Intro Video

Strangers In Town

Strangers In Town Screening Stand By

120 minutes


  • KBTC Public Television

  • Sherri Stanton


  • Nancy Aguilar

    Nancy Aguilar was born in Mexico and was raised in southern California. She initiated her career in government during her senior year of her undergraduate studies. It was there that she discovered her passion for policy and economic development. She has over ten years of experience in the public sector.

    She received a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business from the California State University of San Bernardino and a certificate in Economic Development from the California Association of Local Economic Development and Fresno State University.

    Nancy is the Small Business Liaison for CHA, she also manages the agency state wide Census 2020 campaign, voter registration and all community outreach efforts.

  • Maurice Lekea

    Maurice Lekea, Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), arrived in the US in 2000. After 19 years of living in Washington, his Asylum case finally got approved in July 2019. While raising 5 children as a single dad, Maurice went to school and worked a full time job. Despite speaking no English when he first arrived, Maurice eventually became a certified French - English Interpreter/Translator in 2008.

    Maurice now works with the Tacoma Refugee Choir as its newest Fundraising Associate. During his time working with the choir he hopes to help both refugees and non-refugees find important resources for integration, building friendships within the choir and find their voices through singing.

  • Steve Lerner

    Steve Lerner is a psychologist, filmmaker, and musician. He got his start in filmmaking under the guidance of his childhood friend Reuben, when they collaborated on a film in 1972 called "Cycle." To their surprise, the film won Honorable Mention at the Marin County Film Festival, and was used for years by noted psychologist Erik Erickson in his teaching.

    “Strangers In Town”, also co-directed with Reuben Aaronson, has screened in many film festivals, and has been shown numerous times throughout the Midwest. It won Audience Favorite awards at the Borrego Springs and Browns Point Film Festivals. More than 30,000 people have viewed it.

  • Kimsang Lor

    Kimsang Lor immigrated with his family to the United States from Cambodia in 1984, after escaping the Khmer Rouge. He works at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center as a Youth Program Coordinator. His passion lies in working with youth in the community, keeping them engaged in school and encouraging them to pursue education and career opportunities in order to enrich their communities. He is a co-founder of the Khmer Language Arts & Culture Academy, where he teaches Khmer language and dance. He is also a loud and proud member of the Tacoma Refugee Choir!

  • Tina Van


    Tina Van is a 2019 University of Washington Tacoma alumni. Born and raised on Hilltop Tacoma to a family of Vietnamese immigrants, the duality of her upbringing inspired her to continue building bridges between entirely different worlds. It’s something she grew up doing, battling between two cultures until realizing she could achieve “synergy” between the two. She grew up with a passion for music, getting involved with dancing and singing at a young age. Her favorite genres of music include soul, rhythm and blues, and rap. Her passion for marketing stems from her early experiences at the Milgard School of Business, where she learned about the true value of marketing to transform institutions. “I always knew I needed to be a leader, to take risks and share my light with my community.” In May 2019, Tina joined the Tacoma Refugee Choir as a member until being recruited to join on as a part-time intern in Fall 2019 and, eventually, as a full-time Marketing Manager in 2020.

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.