by Ana Nuncio
A stroll along Derby Street, past St. Joseph’s Hall, past The Gables and on to Winter Island Park this October will offer residents and visitors a sense of the lively discourse that old and new immigrant generations have brought to Salem.
The photos displayed through the windows at St. Joseph Hall, located at 160 Derby Street, give passersby a sense of the civic activism of past generations of immigrants. St. Joseph’s Hall, once the hub of Salem’s Polish community, now showcases the bustling activity of that previous generation of immigrants.
Proud faces look out at you from the photographic display, clear evidence of the hope that drove that generation of immigrants to become civically engaged over issues that mattered to them. For over 70 years, St. Joseph’s Hall was the meeting place for these residents of Salem, already well embarked along the path of becoming Americans.
This year, members of Salem’s Latino community, the modern-day counterparts of those hopeful residents, will gather at Winter Island Park on October 12th to host an event in celebration of “Unsung Community Heroes”. The ceremony will cap a series of month-long observances for Hispanic Heritage Month, a national observance that runs September 15 – October 15.
Four Latino residents will be honored for their notable, largely unpublicized efforts to help Salem’s immigrant community become better integrated into civic life. This annual event, sponsored by the Latino Leadership Coalition and the City of Salem, invites Salem’s larger community to participate in honoring these unsung, but mighty community heroes.
The Gables will be represented among the proud celebrants, in keeping with its Settlement mission of welcoming and orienting new immigrants into the larger Salem community.
This post was written by Julie Arrison-Bishop