Integrating Immigrant Communities into Civic and Political Life


Monday, March 31, 2014, 5:30pm to 7:30pm


Qniversity, Union Crossing, 2nd Floor, 50 Island Street, Lawrence, MA

Lawrence, MAA Panel Discussion on the Lawrence Experience
Welcome Remarks by Daniel Rivera, Mayor of Lawrence

Jessica Andors, Executive Director, Lawrence Community Works
Sr. Eileen Burns, SNDdeN, Executive Director, Notre Dame Education Center–Lawrence
Zoila Gomez, Immigration Attorney
Eliana Martinez, Teacher, Lawrence International High School
Archon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship, Harvard Kennedy School
Asma Khalid, Reporter, WBUR (Moderator)

Reception and Panel Discussion

This event is free and open to the public, no RSVP required.

About the Event
Immigration policy and paths to citizenship are hotly contested topics on the national stage, yet the impact of immigration is most often experienced on the local level. Lawrence and communities like it across the country are on the frontlines dealing with important questions and tensions that immigration can present. On a practical level, what steps can a community take to address issues such as integration, identity, and alienation – and their impact on economic security, public safety, and civic health?

The panel discussion will highlight how Lawrence has strived to welcome generations of immigrants into the economic, civic and political life of its community. The event will be an opportunity to reflect on what Lawrence has learned from the city’s efforts to integrate new arrivals: what has worked, what did not work, and what else might the city do? What can others learn from the Lawrence experience?

The event is co-sponsored with Lawrence Community Works, WBUR, Qniversity, and Lawrence History Center.

Read more» Panel Examines ’Questions and Tensions’ of Immigration in Eagle-Tribune

Read more» Town Hall Discussion on Immigration and Shifting Populations

Read the Challenges to Democracy blog post about this event

Watch a Video Recording of the Event

View Photos from the Event

Suggested Reading
WBUR, Why Immigrant-Friendly Legislation Has Stalled In Mass. (Asma Khalid): “States across the country are taking immigration issues into their own hands. Last year, eight states passed laws that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. But, here in Massachusetts, there’s been little appetite for such legislation.”

Eagle-Tribune, Lawrence wins $700K for working families (Yadira Beances): “Yesterday, Lawrence received a $700,000 award from Working Cities Challenge – the lion’s share of the $1.8 million given to six Massachusetts cities. The money will be used to launch the Lawrence Working Families Initiative, helping parents get job training.”

WBUR, Project Lawrence (Asma Khalid): An occasional series of stories on Lawrence, MA. First piece titled New Lawrence Mayor Seeks Turnaround For Long-Troubled City (February 4, 2014).

Boston Magazine, Lawrence, MA: City of the Damned (Jay Atkinson): “Immigrants from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic began arriving by the middle of the 20th century, just as the textile industry was migrating south in search of cheaper labor. The city has had difficulty replacing the lost jobs, and for the past four decades, most people in Lawrence, an estimated 74 percent of whom are Latino, have struggled to get by.”

Event Coverage
Eagle Tribune, Panel Examines ’Questions and Tensions’ of Immigration (Keith Eddings): “A tale of two cities unfolded at a forum on immigration last night held at a mill built by immigrants a century ago, where participants described a place that still offers a safe-haven for families arriving from overseas but ill-prepares their children for the standardized tests that can determine their future.”

HKS Communications, Town Hall Discussion on Immigration and Shifting Populations (Jenny Li Fowler):  “Harvard Kennedy School hosted a panel discussion in ’the Immigrant City’ on March 31 to examine immigration and shifting populations. Archon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship, who participated in the discussion said, ’We thought that there was no better place for us to learn about [immigration] first hand than Lawrence, MA – a city built on the backs of immigrants and a place that is home to one of the highest percentages of foreign born residents in Massachusetts.’”