By Chloe Derrico
Freshmen English classes began the year by reading “Enrique’s Journey” by Sonia Nazario, a book that follows “a boy’s dangerous odyssey to reunite with his mother.” The protagonist Enrique begins the journey at age fifteen. Originally from Honduras, his mother left when he was five and he is forced to travel to the US on foot and on top of moving trains.
Classes discussed how stories like these are not unique to the characters in “Enrique’s Journey.” Each year tens of thousands of children emigrate from Central America to the US in search of their parents or to escape gang vio- lence. In these Central American countries, poverty and violence are very relevant issues that citizens face every day. In a 2013, Honduras had the highest homicide rate in the world.
The Community Resource Center (formerly known as the Hispanic Resource Center) in Mamaroneck provides further information. The Community Resource Center, headed by Milan Bhatt, promotes the “cultural, economical, educational, and professional integration of immigrants to the larger community.” The center offers case management/family services, a workers’ center, educational programs and much more.
Book read by freshmen has real-life significance in community
According to Mr. Bhatt, Guatemala is the number one source of immigrants to the Mamaroneck area. He explains, “Most come for family or economic based issues.” Mr. Bhatt also went into detail about the social and economic difficulties immigrants face and how the village of Mamaroneck helps them cope with these issues.
The process of receiving a visa/green card into a country can require over twenty years to complete. Once in the U.S., many immigrants are vulnerable to exploitation, and crimes like wage theft are a common complaint. Sometimes, the employees aren’t paid at all. The Community Resource Center attempts to hold these employers accountable for their mistreatment of employees. This resource protects against these types of abuses.
“The village continues to improve its policies, and you’re considered a friend of Mamaroneck whether you have been here for three weeks or three centuries.”
Mayor Norman Rosenblum explains that this issue is not unique to Mamaroneck. He emphasizes that the country overall is a melting pot, as is the village: “The village continues to improve its policies, and you’re considered a friend of Mamaroneck whether you have been here for three weeks or three centuries.”
Immigration has been ongoing for centuries, and will continue to occur. And immigrants make important contributions to society.