Originally Posted on June 12th, 2009
On May 1, I was invited as the keynote speaker for the Johns Hopkins University Women’s Network Banquet. The topic I addressed, Finding the Voice Within: The Journey of a New American to Empower Women through the Arts, reflected my personal journey weaved together with stories and experiences of other women – who just like myself are crafting a new life out of their own hopes, dreams and talents.
Talking about being an immigrant as an insider rather than an outsider, or a new citizen rather than an alien brings a different point of view to the whole aspect of immigration. As immigrants, one of our most important priorities is to belong. We seek a home within the new home, we struggle to define and understand our new world, we attempt to do good, but the results of our actions do not always come out right. The world is upside down for a while. We almost forget we existed before.
A new beginning awaits us, yet we feel we did it already.
It really takes courage to face yourself as an immigrant – and then explain to the world what it means. I only know that I feel how burdensome these new beginnings are for all newcomers, and that ONLY with compassion, understanding and respect, can we lift each other up. Ultimately, this is what America is about. How can we ever forget this?
Thank you to Barbara Williamson and all the women of the Johns Hopkins University Women’s Network for having us at this special event. Many women came after the talk to offer support to EWI and encouraged me to write a book. I thank you for believing in me and our work – and yes, the book is on the way… Read more