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More Than a Place Podcast: Celebrating Immigrant Stories

What does it mean to find a home? For many, home is the place where we feel safe, joyful, and welcomed by the people around us.

We use our senses and memories to define what it means, every single day. For Indianapolis immigrants, an understanding of home emerges from dreams, sacrifices, and journeys of miles and years.

Join us for a special podcast series to explore the diverse lived experiences of Indy’s immigrant community. Together, we’ll see how, rather than exchanging an old home for a new one, immigrants create a powerful idea: that home is so much more than a place. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Fully captioned episodes will be released weekly on Youtube.

Episode Guests

Vanessa Monfreda

Episode 1
Vanessa Monfreda, local artist

Gurindher Hohl,

Episode 2
Gurinder Kaur, CEO of the Immigrant Welcome Center

Kwan Hui

Episode 3
Kwan Hui, former Lilly researcher and gardener

This episode will be available on YouTube on May 19.

(Photo reprinted by permission. Current Publishing, LLC. Copyright 2018. All Rights Reserved.)

Mariam Sylla

Episode 4
Mariam Sylla, graduate student at IUPUI

This episode will be available on YouTube on May 26.

Mestre Iuri Santos

Episode 5
Mestre Iuri Santos, Angola capoeira instructor

This episode will be available on YouTube on June 2.

Dr. Svitlana Larmolenko Ramer

Episode 6
Dr. Svitlana Iarmolenko Ramer, co-founder of the Ukrainian Society of Indiana

This episode will be available on YouTube on June 9.

Maria Manalang

Episode 7
Maria Manalang, Director of Respiratory Therapy – Greenwood Health Care

This episode will be available on YouTube on June 16.

Hiba Alalami

Episode 8
Hiba Alalami, philanthropist and activist for Muslim & Arab-American communities

This episode will be available on YouTube on June 23.

Koffi Koevi

Episode 9
Koffi Koevi, anthropologist and West African clothing designer

This episode will be available on YouTube on June 30.

Jully Pettijohn

Episode 10
Jully Pettijohn, former IndyPL staff member and pediatric health specialist

This episode will be available on YouTube on July 7.

About the Team

Meet the Host: Erica Irish
Erica is an administrative assistant for the Indianapolis Public Library's programming team. She brings adventures in journalism, marketing, and a lifelong love for storytelling to "More Than A Place." For Erica, home will always smell like fresh-brewed Folger's, taste like her dad's chili on a cold winter evening, and look like the Sunken Gardens at Garfield Park.

Meet the Producer: Kendall Antron Hughes
An Indianapolis native, Kendall Antron is best known for his contributions to the Made in Indy podcast as its creator and host, a platform devoted to the artists, entrepreneurs, and creators of the Circle City. He is a graduate of Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. He is deeply passionate about working to create equitable communities that serve all citizens equally and using his voice as a tool to do so. To Kendall, 'home' means having your own oasis in an ever changing world.

Meet the Artist: Jean Claude Lofenia
Jean Claude Lofenia is a Congolese artist who had dedicated his life to speaking about the Congolese culture, environmental issues, and crime through his paintings. His work has been shown in Africa, Europe, and in the U.S. Jean Claude is one of the many immigrants who have made Indianapolis home. For Jean Claude, home is prayer and the fresh smell of fufu with vegetables and fish.

More Than a Place is made possible by The Indianapolis Foundation Library Fund through a grant to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. Episodes were produced in partnership with Kendall Antron of the Made in Indy podcast. We’d also like to thank former IndyPL staff member Claudia Salinas for setting this project in motion in 2019.