Immigrant stories spin web
As a small girl I would often sit by my father, enthralled with his stories of the “Old Country.” With the skill of an old Irish shanachie, or story teller, he would weave his tales of giants and mere men, often choosing lore with a parable as its plot and resolution. I still recall his story of the man who couldn’t stop gambling — until he realized he had gambled his soul away to the devil in a card game he was enticed into on a Sunday.
As an adult, I found myself telling the stories of immigrants, first as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor. Unlike my Dad, I couldn’t tell tall tales or weave parables into the yarns. Too often, these stories concerned immigrants so desperate to live here that they threw caution to the wind and overstayed their welcome. Some were soon set upon by greedy bosses or landlords, who payed too little and extracted too much from those forced to live under the radar.
Notwithstanding the popular image of journalists as cold, uncaring peddlers of pain, more than one reporter was so moved by the plight of poor immigrants that he or she tried to help them. It is because of one of those reporters that I am able to write this blog today.
These days Natalia Muñoz is head of Verdant Multicultural Media, a company designed to reach and serve diverse communities. One of her many skills is designing web sites. She helped me to launch this deliberately simple, even rudimentary, one.
I don’t believe in bells and whistles. I believe in plain talk and action.
While this site is hardly typical of the dynamic electronic portals she has created, it is a continuation of sorts of her efforts to help immigrants. That’s because these days I am telling the stories of immigrants in another way. As a lawyer, I am helping them to present their case for permanent residence here by telling their stories to immigration officers. The law helps to fill in the blanks of who is deserving and who is not.
As someone who seemed to single-handedly adopt a needy Guatemalan family after she told newspaper readers their story, Natalia is no doubt remembering the stories she heard in her mother’s arms in her native Puerto Rico. It is a story parents around the world tell in many different languages.
If we can, we should leave the world a better place than when we found it.
To learn more about Natalia’s company, visit her web site at www.verdantmulticulturalmedia.com
Oh, and if you need help with an immigration petition, feel free to call on me.