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Aviva Chomsky to kick off Community Conversations series at The Gables

May 11, 2015 Published By Julie Arrison-Bishop

By Rae Francoeur

We are pleased and proud to announce that Aviva Chomsky — scholar, author, professor and heralded social advocate — will be our first speaker in a series of community discussions at The House of the Seven Gables Visitor Center. The series, “Immigration Conversations,” is organized by the Settlement Association.

Please join us for Chomsky’s presentation, “How Immigration Became Illegal,” on Wednesday, May 13 at 6 p.m., 115 Derby St., Salem, Mass. Refreshments will be served.

We will create an environment where we can engage in frank, safe and open conversations about immigration, especially as this human experience unfolds in Salem and surrounding communities. Among our topics — unaccompanied children at the U.S.–Mexico border, trauma associated with immigration, immigration and legality.

Chomsky is Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Salem State University here in Salem. Noam Chomsky’s daughter, Aviva carries on a tradition of rigorous study and political activism. Her kick-off presentation, rooted in her research, confronts some common assumptions people make about immigrants.

As such, these conversations are expected to be sensitive and compelling. Ana Nuncio, series coordinator and Manager of the Settlement Partnerships, will supply ground rules at the outset so that people feel safe enough to share their viewpoints and concerns.

Nuncio, Manager of the Settlement, or community partnerships supported by The House of the Seven Gables, says that the Gables’ community partners want to develop a better understanding of the immigrant population that first settled in Salem in the ’70s. This population — primarily people from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico — came to the Boston area and Salem in response to their countries’ dire political and economic upheaval. It’s a relatively new immigrant population that, she hopes, will join with others in discussions about community, integration, anxieties and shared areas of common experience.

“We’re very fortunate in Salem,” she says. “Here’s a city that consciously tries to correct the social wrongdoings of its past and tries to be very deliberate about treating people fairly.” She hopes that these conversations provoke a pattern of questioning in individual residents and among Salem’s various communities. She hopes to help broaden understanding within the community so that we can see each other through a more humane lens.

We hope to see you at The House of the Seven Gables Visitor Center this coming Wednesday evening.

This post was written by Julie Arrison-Bishop