Walk of DREAMers: An Evening of Stories

One of the storytellers Karolina Soto taking a selfie of herself with author Francisco Jimenez.

One of the storytellers Karolina Soto taking a selfie of
herself with author Francisco Jimenez.

On June 29th at Palo Alto’s newly renovated Mitchell Park Community Center, the Midpen Media Center, in partnership with the Palo Alto Library will present an evening of storytelling.  All of the storytellers are DREAMers, meaning that they were brought to this country as children – without authorization – and now hope to attain a legal pathway to citizenship.

The six storytellers have been working with renowned memoir author, Francisco Jimenez and Elliot Margolies of the Media Center to shape and present their individual 10-minute pieces. Professor Jimenez, who will emcee the event, came across the border as a child and worked alongside his parents in the fields of California. He eventually attained citizenship and became a distinguished writer and professor of literature at Santa Clara University. Each of the storytellers were inspired by his work when they were growing up.

The DREAMers will share a range of emotion-filled experiences threaded by hope, perseverance, fear, secrets, and dreams for their families and themselves. One will take us to the strawberry fields where he worked as a ten year old. Another will bring us on a flight to reunite with his mom for the first time since his infancy. One ventures far from anything familiar and finds a welcoming home during her college years in a tiny town, Ripon, Wisconsin, “the birthplace” of the Republican Party. “The Border” is a dividing line in each DREAMer’s life, mapping both physical and emotional challenges to overcome.  All are now temporarily protected from deportation and able to work legally in the US since President Obama’s executive action called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The event is part of a larger project called Made Into America that includes an archive of immigration stories at www.madeintoamerica.org. The stories underscore the importance of immigrants in every era of US history and they begin in dozens of different countries worldwide. Over 5,000 people visit the archive every month – thanks in large part to a Google Adwords grant. You can contact editor@madeintoamerica.org if you have a group or class that would like to experience a workshop and contribute their family stories.

The storytelling event was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.

This event is free and open to the public, 7 – 9 PM.  There will be light refreshments and an art exhibit.  Please RSVP here.

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