Tag Archives: Immigrants

May Day: Let’s Celebrate By Waving Mexican Flags

My mom and dad arrived at Ellis Island as immigrant teens early in the 20th Century. Their parents came here to escape grinding religious and political persecution in Russia and Germany.

They also looked to America as the opportunity to rise from poverty and persecution. When they first arrived, my parents continued to endure prejudice here. However, they were never foolishly ungrateful by taking to the streets waving Russian or German flags.

Of course, as with today’s immigrants arriving, their lack of education and continuing social prejudice required they work in menial jobs. They endured it all with determination that their kids could break away from poverty and prejudice.

As with many other immigrant families, our parents’ struggles were successful. They didn’t take to the streets waving hateful signs and foreign flags. Their struggles in poverty resulted in sending their kids to college and on to professional careers.

You’ve escaped from a country where your life was doomed to poverty. So, if you must demonstrate on May Day and at future rallies, have the common sense and appreciation to wave the flag of your new, welcoming country.

Why Do We Let Those Dirty Aliens Into Our Country?

As the newly-arrived immigrant family made it’s way up the street, American citizens stared and sneered. “Look at the way they dress. Shabby clothes, men with long beards and women with heads always covered.

Worse, they practice religions with all kinds of crazy prayers. And those filthy immigrants rent the cheapest places in town, with six or eight of them all sleeping in the same shabby room.”

More citizen anger at the strange people: “Employers won’t hire them, except for the lowest paying jobs no Americans would take. They’ll never fit in, because of their mumbo-jumbo cult. They keep speaking in their foreign language, and won’t ever learn English.”

Sound familiar? Did the scene and angry comments just happen today in some Arizona town above the Mexican border? Or yesterday at a New York airport after a flight from the Middle East arrived?

Actually, it was 1907, at the shipyard docks in Philadelphia. My mother, age 10, her four sisters, two brothers and parents had just arrived. They came to America after a long journey across Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. They had escaped from a Jewish ghetto in Kiev, Russia, burned down by Cossacks.