SALEM, MA —Professor and author Dan-el Padilla will lead a forthright discussion about the difficulties immigrants face when attempting to gain citizenship. The third in this year’s Community Conversations at The House of the Seven Gables takes place on Thursday, May 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Padilla’s critically acclaimed book, “Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League,” is an affecting, sometimes harrowing personal narrative that reveals a human side to the immigration issues we have yet to resolve in the United States. Padilla tells his story with a compelling mix of youthful bravado, humor, humility and angst. He speaks for many who, because of their illegal status, dare not speak for themselves.
All are invited to participate in this conversation with Padilla, which is free of charge in The Gables’ Visitor Center. Refreshments will be served and parking is available. The event is sponsored by Mass Humanities. Those interested may contact Ryan Conary at 978-744-0991, ext. 104 for reservations or email email@example.com.
A frank, safe and open conversation about immigration, especially as this human experience unfolds in Salem and surrounding communities, is the aim of this series at The House of the Seven Gables. As such, these conversations are expected to be sensitive and compelling. Ana Nuncio, Manager of the Settlement Partnerships at The Gables and coordinator of this two-year series, supplies ground rules at the outset so that people feel comfortable sharing their viewpoints and concerns. The Settlement Association coordinates and manages the series, with support from Historic New England, the Salem Award Foundation, Catholic Charities and the North Shore Community Development Coalition.
Padilla’s story is significant and universal because he has been an exemplary member of society. He, like most immigrants, is not bent on exploiting the system. He is part of this society that he has life bonds with, and he offers his own unique contributions. As a teacher and mentor of the young, he touches many lives every day. In the Epilogue of his memoir, we learn that many undocumented students contact him with questions about how to gain legal status. He knows his example is not easily transferable, but there is something about his persistence that is. And Padilla’s example, however special, resonates with the kind of gumption and hopefulness that we recognize as the American spirit.
About The House of the Seven Gable Settlement Association
The mission of the House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association is to preserve its National Historic Landmark and leverage its power as an icon of American culture to engage diverse audiences and provide education opportunities for the local immigrant community. For more information visit www.7gables.org.