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CULTURAL IMMERSIONS

Cultural Immersions
Deadrea J. Miller
Karen Watkins, Ph.D., LMSW
Georgia State University

CULTURAL IMMERSIONS

Abstract
This cultural immersion provides a snapshot of the before, during and after plunge experience
with the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender (LGBT) community. The intent of the experience identifies
true behaviors, attitudes, and misconception with regards to diverse cultures, ethnicities or
groups.
Reflections of group before Immersion
Before the immersion, the expression of feelings for the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender (LGBT)
community is unwelcoming and a curse. The strict Pentecostal belief systems and faith practices
forbidden and spoke out against the LGBT community and often referencing the population as
the Canaanites and the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the Bible, the Canaanites were a
population of people who engaged in homosexual practices and Sodom and Gomorrah their
region of the dwelling. The recent Supreme Court ruling was a great disappointment to the
Pentecostal belief systems as well as the denomination.
Reflection of Immersion
The interview with Officer Courtney Murphy was the first conversation and cultural experience
with a person of the LGBT community. Officer Murphy shared the story of coming out to her
family, school, and community. How her father, a Pastor refused to accept the annunciation for
Lesbian identity and put Officer Murphy with the Bible out on the streets of Atlanta at age 14.
She never gave up on her faith, God or Church. Instead, Officer Murphy continue to forward
with high school and college. Since becoming a member of the LBGT community and the
Atlanta Police Department (APD), she serves as LGBT liaison bridging the gaps between
community, LGBT youths, and APD.
Reflection after the Immersion
As a BSW candidate for social work and spiritually inclined person, the plunge forced the
personal biases, prejudices, and stereotyping of the LGBT community to be confronted, examine
and separated. This emotional encounter has challenged the person quest to conduct individual
research for Biblical resolution and social advocacy for LGBT community.
Reflection to increase Cultural Competency with Group
Increasing cultural competency for the LGBT community goes beyond the initial interview with
Officer Murphy. The goal is follow-up with a contingency to research the laws, regulations,
provision of care, the workforce, community engagement and other LGBT-related services. By
taking these measures to increase the advancement and effective communication with LGBT
community and social work practice. The overall experience was educational in the core
dynamics of LGBT community and livelihood.

CULTURAL IMMERSIONS

Abstract
This cultural immersion provides a snapshot of the before, during and after plunge experience
with the Annunciation Cathedral and Hellenic Greek Culture Center, for the 2016 Greek festival.
The experience identifies the Greek Church, culture, attitudes, and misconception with regards to
Greek ethnicity, ceremonies, socioeconomics, and drinking.
Reflections of group before Immersion
Before the immersion, the expression of feelings for the Greek community was mixed because of
the bias or stereotyping imagery from mass communication and social media. The limited
encounters with the culture included Greek dining at authentic restaurants and watching the
movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The typical stereotyping that Greeks culture loves to eat
pasta, pizza, they are heavy drinkers of wine and beer and will pass out because of drunkness in
public places. The understanding that the Greeks do not expand outside their community.
Reflection of Immersion
The plunge was to attend the 2016 Atlanta Greek Festival and embark on the Greek culture; this
experience was enlightening and holistic. The community center provided tours of the
breathtaking Greek Orthodox Cathedral and orated the history of Greece and culture. The
overview of the Greek festival filled with food, music, sororities and fraternities, amusement
themes, Greek vending and the celebration of the Greek community with metro Atlanta. It
revealed the Greek Festival is an annual fundraising event to meet the needs of the church,
academy and also provides cultural awareness to the community. Through the immersion, a
discovery of the micro and mezzo social services support provided to metro Atlanta by the Greek
Orthodox Cathedral. The Greek community offers Greek meals on wheel, scholarship, and
emergency relief aid to surrounding communities.

Reflection after the Immersion


The plunge was a rewarding experience learning of the social services and support provided
surrounding communities was simply amazing. This social action serves as a reminder of how
the Churches were a type social worker and active change agent of historical past. The
community services and the cultural festival works hand in hand taking care of needs of diverse
groups without restriction to ethnicity, race, color or greed. The knowledge of Greece and Greek
culture stirred a motivation for increased cultural awareness.
Reflection to increase Cultural Competency with Group
The goal is follow-up with Millie Phillips, operation manager with Hellenic Greek Culture
Center to for volunteer services, financial support, and knowledge of the Greek language,
culture, customs and traditions practiced in Atlanta. The Greek Cultural Center offers educational

CULTURAL IMMERSIONS

films, lectures, poetry readings, monthly social events, and activities at Annunciation Cathedral
church. The overall experience
Abstract
This cultural immersion provides a snapshot of the before, during and after plunge experience
with the Undocumented Immigrants community. The intent of the experience helps identify
behaviors, attitudes, and misconceptions with regards to undocumented immigrants. It also
increases cultural awareness and to better understand the process for their legalization and how
this vulnerable population self-identify in the United States. There is a critical need for social
workers to service undocumented immigrants in America. Becoming culturally competent of the
process, laws, and culture helps eliminate bias and focuses on fundamental human rights.
Reflections of group before Immersion
Before the immersion, the expression of feelings for the undocumented immigrants as a financial
burden to society. All undocumented immigrants are from Mexico, crossing the border in the
middle of the night and the population live in overcrowded dwellings with multiple families and
children and working minimum wage jobs, and putting the State at risk to inherited healthcare
cost for a population who cannot speak English or deserving of social service benefits.
Reflection of Immersion
The interview with a second generation documented immigrant named Miranda X, who implies
that she is born in the United States, however, her father and mother cross the border for
freedom. Her parents believed in the American dream and risked their lives for a portion.
Miranda speaks English fluently and has finished high school, however, she can not advance
further due to Georgia policies and laws restricting universities enrollment for undocumented
students. She has the desire a political science degree and work with policy reform. Mirandas
father works for the City of Atlanta waste management division, and she places emphasis my
dad does not hang out at the local Home Depot searching for daily unskilled or illegal work.
Miranda implies, undocumented, unauthorized and illegal are hurtful words demoralizing
vulnerable population self-worth.
Reflection after the Immersion
As a BSW candidate for social work, this immersion has helped with the understanding how this
population self-identify in American, the extenuating circumstances, the hardship and backlash
of the community. The people desperate search and critical need to experience higher education
and social services opportunities. There is an intense yearning for advocacy.
Reflection to increase Cultural Competency with Group
Increasing cultural competency for undocumented immigrants is a strong area of interest in
advocacy and policy reform. Research in state, federal and local policies increases cultural

CULTURAL IMMERSIONS

competency and educate the community on misconceptions and basic human rights and
becoming an ally within boundaries. The intent is to get involved with the population for
acquiring fundamental human rights.
Abstract
This cultural immersion provides a snapshot of the before, during and after plunge experience
with the Atlanta Asian Culture and Arts Center. The theater experience of ancient Chinese dance,
beautiful costumes, and a greater appreciation for Asian art and culture.
Reflections of group before Immersion
Before the immersion, the expression of feelings for Asian-American was none existence.
Personal prejudices and stereotyping for this population existed. All Asian are brilliant in the
field of Mathematics and have an academic advantage in America. This community is
discriminatory against the African-American race.
Reflection of Immersion
Cultural awareness for the appreciation of Asian dance and art and the understanding of the
various Asian cultures in Atlanta. The viewing of the Asian Morning Star Dance Academy
performs several ancient dances to themes, graphic art, and poetry.
Reflection after the Immersion
The performance was in the presence of Asian population which solicits the need to involve
surrounding communities and other diverse groups of the activities at the center. While the
performance was excellent, many apparent groups are unaware of the arts and culture center and
all it has to offer regarding culture.
Reflection to increase Cultural Competency with Group
Increasing cultural competency for the Asian-American community greatly needed. While the
immersion experience was only a ticketed event, there is an active presence for become more
proficient in the culture, language, and community. Overall, the performance was magnificent as
well as the Asian costumes.

CULTURAL IMMERSIONS

References Cited:
Holy Bible King James. (2012). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers Marketing.
Zwick, J. (Director). (2014). My Big Fat Greek Wedding [Motion Picture].