Today’s guest post is by Beth-Ann.
Early this month, Dan Chouinard and Peter Rothstein premiered a musical docu-drama (Peter’s word) telling the story of immigrants who traveled through Ellis Island. Steerage Song is a powerful homage to what is lost and gained by immigrants.
Beautiful voices sang the words from Emma Lazarus’ poem inscribed at the Statue of Liberty
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
And like John McCormack in this video the talented cast sang about the Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.
I was moved by this production for many reasons, but one of the big ones is that I am from an immigrant family. All of my great grandparents, my grandmother, and my son are immigrants. They came from Ireland, Russia, Germany, Austria , and Korea to this foreign land where they learned a new language, new jobs, and how to add their potatoes, kreplach, and kimchi to the melting pot that is America.
I am also a migrant. I was born in Japan on American soil and didn’t come “home” until I was 9 months old. Since that time I have lived in Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. I think this Land of 10,000 Lakes in My Isle of Somewhere.
We are all immigrants and some of us are migrants too.
What has been your family journey lit by the lamp at the golden door?