On March 15, Herstory Writers Workshop will release Brave Journeys, a collection of poignant stories told by young people, now living on Long Island, who risked their lives crossing borders to rejoin their parents here in the United States.
Long Island Wins has been partnering with Herstory to curate and publish several of the stories that will appear in Brave Journeys.
The writings are anonymous “because it wouldn’t be safe to share these stories in a traceable way,” explained Erika Duncan, founder and executive director of Herstory. “We share the hope and the light in their voices at this moment of time when, in the words of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, ‘the Statue of Liberty has tears in her eyes.’”
In an age where fear-mongering has driven the wedge of division in some of our Long Island communities, the stories told in Brave Journeys help shine a light on who our immigrants really are, and their struggles to live freely and safely. Blemished by the specter of MS-13, it is important to remember the fact that our young immigrants are here to learn, thrive, and give back. These firsthand accounts help illustrate the humanity behind their struggles, which echo those of native Long Islanders’ own ancestors. Earnest attempts to understand and connect with our immigrant community will help us eradicate gang violence and build stronger, more resilient neighborhoods across Nassau and Suffolk.
An important resource for students, teachers, activists and community members, Brave Journeys is a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit. Most of the writers, ages 14 to 17, crossed mountains, deserts and rivers alone to rejoin their parents, who had come to this country to escape danger and to pursue the dream of a better life. All but two of the stories were penned by students at Central Islip High School, as part of a special project for English Language Learners first settling into their new homes.
Storytelling is the passageway that enables us to share and preserve our culture and social norms. It humanizes the issue and is a way of instilling and strengthening our moral values. Storytelling can transform our perception of the world. This book is a tool that allows us to step into a world that teaches us the power of the human spirit.