A collection of pieces by immigrants in America (and some by their descendants), essays that coalesce to counter the narrative of fear offered by the loud anti-immigrant voices throughout the country.
The editors (also contributors) are both executives with the Loews Corporation. Divided into 10 sections, the text comprises the recollections and ruminations of a wide array of people with diverse personal histories from all over the world. Some contributors are well-known—e.g., Cory Booker, Michael Bloomberg, Barbara Boxer, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Tony Bennett, Marlo Thomas—while others are simply human beings whose stories feature events that are harrowing, inspiring, comforting, and sometimes depressing and shocking. Near the end are some contributions by representatives of a few institutions that help immigrants, including the American Ballet Theatre and the New-York Historical Society. There is even space for readers to write their own stories and a website to which to submit them. What emerges? Repeatedly the essayists write about the importance of education: For some, it was why they came here; for others, it became salvation once they arrived. Equally important is family. We read stories of families separated and reunited, of families who struggled here in poverty but worked hard and changed their lives. But the overwhelming message is clear: “Give us a chance.” These words, in various forms, come from Jews who escaped the Holocaust and the Soviet Union, from those fleeing poverty and hopelessness on just about every continent as well as religious and/or political persecution. Several evoke the lines from the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor.” Not everyone here is a writer—there are few impressive verbal displays—the power here resides in the lives, not necessarily the words. Other notable contributors include Nancy Pelosi, Gabrielle Giffords, and Wes Moore.
More than 70 voices combine to create a powerful chorus singing a hymn
of hope and gratitude.