Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Via the Newspaper

Mary Burke
In one of my prouder moments of speaking through the local newspaper, I had the opportunity to wish my 95-year old neighbor a happy birthday through this column in the local newspaper, which came out on her birthday. As friends dropped by to greet her throughout the day, she proudly displayed the newspaper. And even now she says she's heard from people she hadn't talked to in years because they read her 'birthday column'! Who says newspapers are dying?

September 20, 2012

Column: New England neighborliness and the lady at Number Nine

When English is a Gift

This summer, I learned first hand what it meant to be in a culture where I didn't know the language. When I went to Honduras in July, my junior high Spanish just wasn't enough.

So kudos to those folks like Gina Frey, director of adult education at North Shore Community Action Programs in Peabody, MA, for her leadership with ESOL classes. Frey is pictured here with Sander Juste, an immigrant from Haiti, where he taught high school students but is now honing up on his English, knowing the benefits it will provide. Here's another of my local stories for the Salem News:

Gina Frey (l) and Sander Juste (r)
September 21, 2012

Need for English classes growing

They are students like Bao Li, 33, who is originally from China and now lives in Salem; she was on a waiting list for three years before she was able to enroll in the beginning English class at NSCAP. Now she is in an advanced course. Or Sander Juste, 44, who moved from Haiti to Salem nine months ago; he had been on the waiting list since March before Frey had an opening for him.
Read the rest of the article HERE.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Today's Civil Rights Issue

I've long been concerned about the language used around immigration issues today. Media and citizens alike toss around terms that too often hijack principles and criminalize neighbors.

So when I came across a group of young immigrant college students recently, I knew their story needed telling. I hope it invites more opportunities for conversation:

September 3, 2012

For immigrant students, college is a step closer

Yonerky Santana has been busy lately. Like most college students, Keky, as her friends call her, is preparing for a new semester of classes, juggling limited finances with family and social life as she prepares for what she hopes will be a career in health services.
But Santana is also one of eight student leaders in the North Shore chapter of the Student Immigrant Movement who are helping other immigrant students take what they see as an important step: applying for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that went into effect Aug. 15.