Yirssi Bergman

Research Associate
Race Forward
A current Research Associate at Race Forward, Yirssi previously worked for Planned Parenthood of North Florida, and interned for the ACLU. She has contributed to CNN iReport, The Huffington Post, For Harriet, and The Grand Rapids Press among others, and has won writing awards from the Michigan Community College Press Association, the Michigan Press Association, and the American Model United Nations. 
Yirssi is a two-time immigrant, being born in the Dominican Republic and growing up in Spain before moving to the United States. On her free time you will find her working out, reading, writing, or planning her next traveling adventure.

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

United States of Terror: How The State Has Succeeded At Terrorizing Immigrant Communities And What We Can Do

“You should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder. You need to be worried. No population is off the table.” — Thomas Homan, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 2017.

The current administration has made it clear that its main goal is to terrorize immigrants, whether documented or undocumented. The numerous policies and actions taken in the last two years support this goal: whether by arresting 171% more non-criminal undocumented immigrants in 2017 than in 2016, implementing a Muslim Ban where 77% of those flagged for secondary inspection were lawful permanent residents, rescinding TPS for El Salvador and Haiti, starting an effort to comb through old naturalization applications for fraud, and even by questioning the citizenship of people who have lived for decades as native-born US citizens.

All of these actions have had an unprecedented effect: heightened levels of depression, anxiety, PTSD and trauma for the different immigrant communities affected. These are communities that oftentimes struggle to access health services in general, but mental health services in particular. How do we fight the policies enacted by the current administration, while maintaining our mental health? How do we fight the stereotypes and stigmas associated with mental illness within our own communities? How do we establish trauma-informed systems of care? This panel will explore the actions that the administration has taken, the effects that are felt in our communities, and share how we can fight these effects.

Speakers: Yirssi Bergman