SALEM — Family is key as immigrant families settle in America. Support from extended family members who have already settled here can ease their transition, while family left behind tugs hard at the heart. Meanwhile, the nuclear family — the parents and their children — often have divergent experiences as they seek footing in their new country. The young adapt while parents cleave to their formative culture.
On Wednesday, April 3, from 6 to 8 p.m., The House of the Seven Gables presents the fifth in a timely and thought-provoking series of six Community Conversations on current immigration issues against the backdrop of America’s immigration history. This fifth conversation, following the presentation of a documentary film, focuses on the importance of family and community for newly settled immigrants.
The evening begins with the screening of “My American Girls.” The filmmakers spent a year filming Sandra and Bautista Ortiz’s family. They work hard and live frugally in a multi-family house in Brooklyn. Their goal is to retire to their native Dominican Republic. Their three daughters, American-born and fully on board with American culture, resist. It’s a generational conflict familiar to immigrants across the country, pitting family ties against youthful independence. It’s a moving, often humorous depiction many will recognize.
Scholar Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello, Ph.D., will lead a discussion at the conclusion of the screening. The evening’s presentation at the Visitor Center is open to the public and it is free of charge.
The Gables is one of 32 sites around the country to present this six-part series that was conceived and organized by City Lore in collaboration with the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the International Coalition of the Sites of Conscience. The series is funded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Both Salem State University and the North Shore Community Development Coalition have partnered with The Gables to help make this series possible.
“The idea behind the series is to provide opportunities for a wide range of people to come together to understand the dynamic and complicated histories of people,” says Dr. Duclos-Orsello. “We want to have structured, civic and civil dialogues using the documentary films as a springboard.”
Duclos-Orsello is a scholar of American and New England Studies with an expertise in immigration and ethnic history, social history, community K-12 outreach and museum education. She is professor and chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and she is coordinator of American Studies at Salem State University. She has facilitated scores of conversations where sensitivity and civility determine the baseline for safe and productive dialogues.
This program is free and open to the public. To register, visit www.7gables.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978-306-7001.
The sixth Community Conversation, ‘Immigration and Popular Culture,” is scheduled for May 1:
May 1 — Immigration and Popular Culture
Film: “The Search for General Tso”