Welcome to Newest Americans!
So here it is, the first issue of an experiment in collaborative storytelling.
Our collaboratory is comprised of journalists, media-makers, artists, research faculty and students. We are situated on the campus of the most diverse university in the nation, a public university with immigrant students from around the globe. We are also rooted in an urban metropolis. These elements—diverse, public, immigrant, urban, metropolitan—inform the stories we have to tell.
Our stories emanate from the campus of Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, where the newest Americans from all over the world are acquiring a college education and social mobility. It is here in Newark that their stories converge with those of immigrant Jews and Catholics, Portuguese, Germans, Italians, and Irish, as well as African Americans who arrived as part of the Great Migration, the largest internal migration in American history. Newark has always been a crucible for the construction of new American identities. It is also the connective thread that ties these new immigrant journeys to the foundational story of American identity born of migration and transformation.
Newest Americans is rooted in Newark but the stories in this inaugural issue also take us to Nigeria, Syria and the Jim Crow South. The lives that have produced these stories come in many shapes and sizes, styles and colors. And so does Newest Americans. In our inaugural issue we launch two continuing series, American Sueño, about an aspirational undocumented law student, and We Came And Stayed, photo and video profiles of families who migrated to Newark; the people who came and stayed. For spoken word poetry and personal narratives, take a listen to Transcendental Latino and From Where I Stand, both explorations of identity and metamorphosis. Notes for My Homeland is a short film about a Syrian-American composer, the Syrian Revolution and the arts of resistance. The GlassBook Project: Provisions is a multimedia art project that includes books made of glass, videos, photo galleries, audio clips, poetry and soundscapes. Rounding out this issue are a blog about domestic labor, race and immigration (Maid in the USA) and a graphic novel about an Asian-American college student encountering Newark (Face of a City).
We are excited to share this glimpse into the world of the newest Americans and the vision they provide of our demographic future. If you want to learn more about the work we are producing, check us out on social media and sign up for our newsletter.
Recognize yourself in he and she
who are not like you and me.
― Carlos Fuentes