When immigrants and refugees come to a new country like America, they are often cut off from their homeland, their loved ones and their culture. Often they are required, even at very young ages, to navigate a tangled web of bureaucracies and to adapt rapidly to new settings. Many newcomers find resources that help them make the transition to their new lives in New Hampshire yet others may find those resources lacking. We listen to firsthand accounts of the struggles involved in coming to the Granite State.
Exchange Executive Producer, Keith Shields visits Dame Elementary in East Concord, a school that over 10 years has seen a substantial growth in its immigrant and refugee population.
It’s lunch time at Dame Elementary School in East Concord. About 30 students sit enjoying a meal of burgers and fries. Their faces are a panoply of colors. They come from Sudan, Togo, Burundi, Afghanistan, Nepal and Egypt.
In 2009 Beth Olshansky, a pioneer in a theory of education called "art based literacy" brought her ideas to Webster Elementary school in Manchester. Olshansky worked with the school's large immigrant and refugee population, many of whom hardly spoke English, by having them illustrate then write a book on the stories of their lives. It was successful. The following year, Moharimet Elementary School in Madbury caught wind of the project and decided to bring a new group of Webster students over there to have them write their stories together.
In recent years, children are arriving from new countries, bringing diversity but also new challenges. Many don’t speak English and some aren’t literate in their own language. We talk with people in the education system and folks dealing with foreign born newcomers on a daily basis and ask how they are working to overcome these issues.
June Tumblin: Department Head of the English Learner program at Manchester Central High School
Thomas Sica: Principal of Rundlett Middle School in Concord
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says "No person in the US shall on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance".
In the late 1930, as a way to put thousands of people back to work Franklin Roosevelt created the Works Progress Authority as a part of his New Deal. One part of that was the Federal Writers Project which employed Americans to go around the country and record the oral histories of average Americans. Number 1808 was entitled "French Canadian Mill Work" as told be Philippe Lemay. From this history we get a first hand look at another time in Manchester history and learn a lot about the French Canadian immigrant history of New Hampshire.
We’re looking at the history of immigration as a part of NHPR’s year long series on New Hampshire’s Immigration Story. In the early days it was French Canadians and Irish who arrived, at the turn of the last century Greeks and Eastern Europeans and today, new arrivals from Brazil, to Burundi to Bhutan. We’re looking at who came, why they came and the little known stories around our immigration history.
David Watters: Professor of English at UNH, where he is the director of the center for New England culture.
The Hotel Wentworth by the Sea owes dozens of its former employees nearly $72 thousand dollars in back wages. The hotel and its sub-contractor failed to pay kitchen and housekeeping staff for over a month.
The U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that Wentworth by the Sea and its subcontractor Eco-Clean New England failed to pay some workers for a 4-7 week period.
The hotel also didn’t pay overtime to workers, who primarily are non-native English speakers and live in the Boston area.
Manchester officials are calling for a moratorium on refugee resettlement. Before anyone else arrives, city leaders say current refugees need more help finding work, learning English and getting educated then they currently receive. And now with state and local social service cutbacks, city leaders worry about Manchester’s diminishing capacity to help the newcomers. NHPR’s Dan Gorenstein reports.
Pat Long knows that some people will see him as a xenophobic Alderman from Manchester.