Off Campus

Junior to convene immigrant voices

 

Emory will spend his $1,300 grant on renting out a Boston venue—to be determined—where he plans to host three open forum town hall sessions for Spanish-speaking immigrants. Facilitating in Spanish with the extra support of a translator from the Citywide Boston Hispanic Center, he will broach issues like discrimination, housing, and education as they relate to the immigrants.

Emory said he feels confident he will receive support from Boston’s Immigrant Advancement Office and the mayor’s office, both places he plans to send the notes he will take during each forum.

To advertise, he said he will use a Facebook page and flyers mainly targeting Spanish-speaking immigrants who reside in the Jamaica Plain area. The idea is for each forum to attract over 100 participants and offer a comfortable environment for those eager to voice their needs, he added.

“I hope that the discussions will provide fruitful insight into some of the concerns of Hispanic immigrants in Boston,” he said.

Emory identified his Argentinian grandparents as inspiration for his project, explaining that although they are argumentative and opinionated in discussion when speaking in Spanish, they are more reserved when conversing in English.

“I think sometimes people aren’t comfortable speaking out when they’re not talking their first language, and I think my project will help Spanish-speaking immigrants raise their voices about things they are concerned about.”

The point of the fellowship is to give students the opportunity to try something new that will foster change, whether it succeeds or not, Ms. Selinger said.

“The specter of failure is not scary,” she added. “We’re hoping that even [for] the people who don’t win, the fact that they’ve been asked to create something that will make meaningful change or is an artistic pursuit that’s different—even the thought that one might imagine having an impact in that arena—that’s what we’re trying to inspire.”

“Go ahead and fail! You will learn something from it,” she said.

Ms. Makrauer applauded the quality of all the applications.

“There was an amazing range of proposals,” she said. “The committee has been gratified that the fellowship and Marina have been able to inspire so many good projects.”

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