Enrique's Journey, NCC's common reading for 2012-2013, has been read and discussed in many classes at NCC since the start of the academic year. It has elicited a variety of responses--anger at the desperate choices faced by immigrants, sadness at the physical hardships and emotional trauma experienced by children, empathy with the plight of young people attempting to find their way to America, and admiration for those willing to risk everything to make a better life for themselves and their families.
Based on a series of articles written by journalist Sonia Nazario for the Los Angeles Times, Enrique's Journey tells the story of a young boy who leaves his native Honduras in search of his mother, who has traveled to America to find a job to support her family. Nazario's Pulitzer Prize-winning work does not address the politics of immigration but rather the plight of young children who leave familiar surroundings and endure hardships to be reunited with parents.
Outside the classroom, Enrique's story has been the subject of discussions, films, and campus newspaper articles. The book has been the inspiration for the NCC 101 program's Student Multimedia Arts and Writing Competition, which is currently inviting submissions from NCC students through April 15. For more information about the competition, see the link on the First Year Experience page or read our FYE blog, "What's Up, NCC?"
The subject of young immigrants' often hazardous journey to America was also the focus of a February 27 panel discussion at NCC. The panel featured Patrick Young, a Hofstra University law professor with an interest in immigration issues; Hendel Leiva, a community organizer for Long Island Wins, an advocacy group for immigrants; and two NCC students, themselves immigrants. Each panelist offered his or her own perspective on immigration, including (in some instances) personal experiences. The panel was followed by the showing of a film, Which Way Home, documenting the travails of young immigrants seeking to cross American borders.
But clearly the highlight of the semester (and the year) was Sonia Nazario's visit to NCC on Monday, March 11. Nazario's lecture, "Enrique's Journey and America's Immigration Dilemma," was heard by approximately 800 students over the course of the day. It was a thoughtful and inspiring presentation, touching on the author's experiences in researching and writing Enrique's Journey, her encounters with young people who had left families behind and who were risking everything--even their lives--to enter America, and her own thoughts and idea about how America might best respond to its immigration dilemma. Her presentation left audiences moved and inspired--and with much to think about.
As the spring semester enters its final months, the FYE committee invites everyone (students, faculty, administration, staff, and others) to continue the discussion of Enrique's Journey and the issues it addresses. Regardless of one's perspective on immigration, the issue remains too important to ignore. It demands everyone's attention.
Take part in the campus conversation. Make your voice heard!
For more information about Enrique's Journey, visit these links: