Many UU congregations are looking for help in engaging children and youth with immigration justice issues. In February, the UUA will publish a four-session curriculum for children. With this post, we publish an annotated list of websites and books about immigration compiled by religious educator Karen Scrivo as a course project at Starr King School for the Ministry. In this post, she introduces her project- Ed.
When my Italian grandparents came to the United States as children during the early 1900s, they and their parents arrived at Ellis Island without papers, passports or visas. My grandma Rose Siciliano was about 7 and my grandpa Louis Scrivo was 12. Their families made the long arduous trans-Atlantic journey to escape the harsh poverty that gripped southern Italy. They came knowing no English and with dreams of finding a better life in America.
Their stories are similar to those of many of today’s immigrants – except then there were no quotas for how many Europeans could enter the United States. So their undocumented status did not brand them as “illegal aliens,” nor did they constantly look over their shoulders, worrying they might be deported. Had they been coming from Mexico, they would have not have encountered high barbed wire fences or been detained or turned back by menacing border patrols.
My grandparents went to school, learned English and later met and married in Freeport, Pennsylvania. A carpenter, my grandfather built a house and also worked in the coal mines near Pittsburgh. My grandmother sometimes worked as a seamstress for a local department store. They raised three sons – my father Bill and his older brother Bob and younger brother, Vic and lived to see their many grandchildren. (more…)