As I stroll - well, more like power walk - through the streets of NYC, I am often aware that my footsteps join millions of others throughout history who have trod these same byways. On nearby Ellis Island, pictures of faces stare back from sepia-toned photographs, the faded hue of the images in sharp contrast to the warm glow that was in every heart at landfall. Each face reminds me that these persons had a story, a reason for leaving hearth and homeland. What brought them to America?
Immigration is woven into the fabric of American life; many came with hopes for freedom, security, a better life. With these desires came new efforts to assimilate, craft an identity that does not deny the old, but embraces the new.
Today, many young women still encounter questions of integration or plurality as first or second generation immigrants. In a special feature from our Teaser Issue, one young Muslim woman courageously shares her story of grappling with her role, caught between a love for country of origin and her own American cultural standards. Her reflection is one of heart-felt commitment to faith coupled with aspirations for education when pushed to accept the prospect of an arranged marriage:
"Although my family has lived in America for many years, my parents still view much of life through the lens of their Sudanese heritage and likewise think that I should make choices in the same way. Inside, I am torn. I feel caught in a delicate balancing act between respecting my origins while embracing the American culture I have come to value."
Check out this gripping reflection from our teaser issue and hear this young woman’s story; for a few minutes, walk in her shoes.