“[In Matthew 25] Jesus gave us a long list of the disciples’ activities. They were to give food and drink to the hungry, which meant emergency relief. But the “strangers” were immigrants and refugees, and they were meant to get more than food. They were to be “invited in.” They were not merely to be sent to a shelter but were to be welcomed into the disciples’ homes and lives and, it is implied, given advocacy, friendship, and the basics for pursuing a new life in society.”—
Two years ago, we brought you the story of Mukit Hossain, a Bangladeshi Muslim immigrant living in Northern Virginia. Hossain was a successful business executive who was active in local politics and started a charity.
Hossain’s philanthropic works took an unexpected turn: He had seen some Hispanic immigrant day laborers waiting for work outside in the winter cold in the parking lot of a 7-11. Hossain raised money within the Muslim community to deliver coats, shelter, and meals for the workers.
Margolis went to go meet Hossain on his farm in Spotslyvania County, Virginia several weeks ago and was preparing a story. Then, Hossain died suddenly of a heart attack on November 27th. He was 54.
“After spending any amount of time with my little neighbors, I find myself with one of two responses: I will sit and cry wondering how many more significant days their mom will miss due to a broken set of laws, or I get on a soap box and begin preaching to the choir (my husband) about how injustice is alive and well … and then I sit and cry. I feel so helpless; so hopeless. All I can do is love them like crazy while they are in our home, tell their story, and fight for reform.”—
Hi, I am Kauthar Hassan and I moved from Kenya, by way of Somalia, to the United States in 2000. It was exciting to travel from there to here as we didn’t travel much before and suddenly we were on a very big trip. We came to the United States because my parents wanted better things for all of our family, so they brought us to this country.
When we arrived in Georgia, the change could not have been more different. Yes, there were big cities in Kenya, but there was nothing to compare with the atmosphere of the Atlanta area where I now live. In Kenya, we had a large variety of animals and wildlife. The plains of Kenya were, seemingly, very close to the city. The joy and wonder that went with them, whether it was going on a safari or watching a beautiful sunset, seemed to be easy to find and enjoy. Here the city seems to go on and on. Even when we travel away from the city the wide-open spaces like I knew in Kenya seem to be hard to find.
One of the things I miss most about Kenya is the early morning when I would wake up and smell the aroma of pancakes and mandozi (a Kenyan pastry). I also loved the sunsets in Kenya as the sun slid over the horizon.
Although I miss those parts of my life, I do like it here. Everyone is friendly. When I first arrived everyone would ask me about where I had come from and they wanted to know all about me. Their friendliness made me feel good. There are lots of things to do here that I couldn’t do at home. There are different foods and different cultures all waiting to be explored. I have found something I like as much as the plains of Kenya and that is vacationing along the coast of Florida and enjoying the shore there.
There are some funny things that happened to me when I arrived here, things that American children take for granted. A couple of great examples are in the changes I found in kitchen. I did not know what a microwave oven was. Can you imagine? I had never seen a dishwasher as we had always washed our dishes by hand. Here there was this machine to do such as task. I liked that!
While I do miss my home, I know that was the right place for our family to come to. We have opportunities here that we would not have had in Kenya or Somalia.
“My maternal grandparents were born in eastern Europe, and came to America with no money, few skills and zero knowledge of the English language. Under today’s immigration laws they’d never get in, and I’m far from the only American to say that of my ancestors. Face it: with the exception of the African slaves (who obviously didn’t choose to come here) and a few aristocratic English second sons denied an inheritance by primogeniture laws, the people who built America were mostly – well, losers. Outcasts. Misfits. People so miserable in the Old Country they risked everything to journey to America and grab a chance at a new life. The rich, happy people didn’t bother emigrating; it requires a certain desperation to take such foolhardy risks as crossing the Atlantic in steerage class or crossing the Arizona desert on foot, just for the chance to start over at rock bottom.”
I am the lover’s eyes, and the spirit’s Wine, and the heart’s nourishment. I am a rose. My heart opens at dawn and The virgin kisses me and places me Upon her breast.
I am the house of true fortune, and the Origin of pleasure, and the beginning Of peace and tranquility. I am the gentle Smile upon his lips of beauty. When youth Overtakes me he forgets his toil, and his Whole life becomes reality of sweet dreams.
I am the poet’s elation, And the artist’s revelation, And the musician’s inspiration.
I am a sacred shrine in the heart of a Child, adored by a merciful mother.
I appear to a heart’s cry; I shun a demand; My fullness pursues the heart’s desire; It shuns the empty claim of the voice.
I appeared to Adam through Eve And exile was his lot; Yet I revealed myself to Solomon, and He drew wisdom from my presence.
I smiled at Helena and she destroyed Tarwada; Yet I crowned Cleopatra and peace dominated The Valley of the Nile.
I am like the ages — building today And destroying tomorrow; I am like a god, who creates and ruins; I am sweeter than a violet’s sigh; I am more violent than a raging tempest.
Gifts alone do not entice me; Parting does not discourage me; Poverty does not chase me; Jealousy does not prove my awareness; Madness does not evidence my presence.
Oh seekers, I am Truth, beseeching Truth; And your Truth in seeking and receiving And protecting me shall determine my Behavior.
Khalil Gibran makes me proud to be Lebanese American is like my favourite Poet/Philosopher!!
Genos Steakhouse - famous for its philly steak sandwiches - has anti-immigrant signs all over its windows. take a look at this link, which identifies a huge number of celebrities that took pics there: Oprah Winfrey, Nicholas Cage, Regis Philbin, Sylvester Stallone, Ray Ramono, Tony Danza, Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake, Bobby Flay, Patti Labelle, Joan Rivers, Mariah Carey….
If you are a woman, if you’re a person of colour, if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, if you are a person of size, if you are a person of intelligence, if you are a person of integrity, then you are considered a minority in this world….
When you don’t have self-esteem you will hesitate before you do anything in your life … You will hesitate to defend yourself when you are discriminated against because of your race, your sexuality, your size, your gender. You will hesitate to vote, you will hesitate to dream.
For us to have self-esteem is truly an act of revolution and our revolution is long overdue.
”—Margaret Cho (born December 5, 1968) is an American comedian, fashion designer, actress, author, and recording artist. Cho was born into a Korean family in San Francisco, California. She grew up in a racially diverse neighborhood in the 1970s and 1980s, which she described as a community of “old hippies, ex-druggies, burnouts from the ’60s, drag queens, Chinese people, and Koreans. To say it was a melting pot—that’s the least of it. It was a really confusing, enlightening, wonderful time.”
Frank Zappa was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on December 21, 1940. His mother, Rose Marie (née Colimore), was of Italian and French descent, and his father, Francis Vincent Zappa, was a native of Partinico, Sicily and had Greek and Arab ancestry.
When advancing years slow my steps And my mind turns increasingly To the contemplation of past years, Will I, in exile, fondly remember The land of my birth? The land I left when fear shrouded The serenity of family life; When bullets and bombs Overshadowed the beauty of the mountains And the music of the streams, and My search for true freedom found fulfillment In a new life in a strange land.
—Exile: Poems of an Irish Immigrant James B. Johnston
The US immigrant Stories website has updated so you can submit to the website and world directly online if you don’t feel comfortable emailing. Above is the link but you may press the “i” next to the title and it will pop up there.