Amongst the too bright sign for the neighborhood grocery, past the yellow lit glimpses into strangers’ homes, walking by the park with children laughing and running, there lays little Italy, Chinatown, the Palestinian community or a mélange of cultures.
We move for as many reasons as there are unique individuals, stories filled with common themes of courage, independence, hopefulness, strength and patience. We learn to navigate systems, languages and traditions. We move through what feels like mountains of paperwork—always one more form to complete. We adapt to the speed of the city, depending on the day of the week. We change careers, stretch resources and surprise ourselves with our capabilities.
History and politics have not been kind to immigrants, however. Newspapers report on stories narrated by current politicians using our lives for power. I want to flip the script. Immigration and migration might not be positive words in each context, but I wonder why? The amount of knowledge to overcome hurdles of laws, rules, slang, cultural bridges in friendships and in relationships is truly remarkable. Literature lovers would point to the stories written in books on themes of change and chance, while in new surroundings.
In building this blog, I hope to create a discussion on what would a world look like if we empowered immigrants? What can you learn in listening to an immigrant? Or perhaps reading their story? I chose fiction as a primary source to review to allow broader discussion on relevant topics, in escaping party politics and rhetoric for a moment—a chance to remember human experiences, even imagining how we would interact with these characters in our own lives. Of course, not every book reviewed will be on immigration, but focus on some way to open our hearts again.
In my own process of immigrating to a new country, acknowledging the privilege I have as a white American, I would like to raise awareness and positivity on the truly wonderful gifts immigrants bring. I plan on writing about this process, as well as silly anecdotes about my own life.
I hope you enjoy this journey with me, readers.