Immigration: Becoming American Exhibit in the 4 Pillars Gallery
Our first exhibit of 2019 is a unique one for us! Immigration: Becoming American is in collaboration with the New Ulm Public Library and the Brown County Historical Society. Funded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor, this series aims to facilitate informed discussions on the topics of immigration, both as a major part of our nation’s history, and the challenges faced today.
Our exhibit from Green Card Voices showcases twenty students from Leap High School in St. Paul, Minnesota who immigrated here as minors. Many were refugees, living with their families in camps for years awaiting word on their resettlement applications. Several of the students commented on the drastic change in climate, landscape, and the barriers created by differences in languages. A great number of them have had to leave close family members behind in order to immigrate to the United States. They all have big dreams for their futures though. Some want to study medicine in hopes of returning to their homelands and provide care to those who need it. Others hope to study computer engineering and join the technology industry after college. A few even dream of becoming soccer and basketball stars, too!
Our goal is to record the stories of American immigrants - whether they're naturalized citizens, permanent residents, refugees and asylees, or persons on temporary visas - and share them with as large of an audience as we can reach.
-Green Card Voices
These are just a handful of the stories to be told of those who have immigrated to America with dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. The process of becoming an American citizen is lengthy, confusing, and in many ways terrifying. Like many of our ancestors who came before them, they are hopeful their sacrifice will reap great rewards and security for future generations.
Come on down, look at their faces, read their stories, and even watch their videos as they describe their journey to America. And as you do, I encourage you to draw parallels to your family’s own immigration story. We all come from such diverse backgrounds, but I think you will be surprised at the amount of common ground you will find!
Becoming American Documentary Film and Discussion Series (begins February 21) hosted by the New Ulm Public Library. Weekly discussions will be lead by historian Dan Hoisington. Free and open to the public. Supplemental reading materials available from Becoming-American.org.