I wrote my last blog post here on 4 November 2016.
Four days later, Trump won the election.
This website’s silence over the past year is not entirely coincidental. And at times, I’ve felt very guilty for my absence when advocacy matters more than ever. In the past twelve months, there has been so much to say about injustice, especially when it comes to immigration. There’s the Travel Ban. There’s DACA. There’s the wall.
But I also know that despair and rage make for angry and self-righteous copy. I know that shrill voices do not win arguments. In a world where there is too much outrage, I’ve come to think that silence is sometimes underrated. It can bring unexpected gifts.
And a year after Trump’s election, here is the unexpected: in a year which has thrown me sideways, personally and politically, I am now perhaps as happy as I’ve ever been. I struggled for years to know what I wanted to “be”. In 2017, watching and waiting, I’ve finally realized I am happiest when I’m telling stories. Writing. Recording. And one thing I am still sure of: there are so, so many immigration stories that need to be told.
So welcome to migrantsandcitizens.org, version 2.0. The timing is serendipitous. The reworking of this website coincides with the beginning of another adventure. We’re packing our bags and heading East. Over the next year, I’ll be traveling across America, from Angel to Ellis Island, trying to make sense of my own immigration experience while also unravelling the histories of the immigrants who arrived here before me, often to an uncertain welcome. If there’s a place you think I should visit or people you think I should talk to, let me know. Otherwise, check in soon for an update on my new project, Welcome to America: Travels through an Immigrant Nation’s History.