‘Nation of Immigrants celebrated at ADL Passover Seder – The Boston Globe

Posted By on March 9, 2020

Jacqueline Landaverde was 16 years old when the Trump administration issued an order lifting temporary protected status for El Salvadoran immigrants living in the United States. The news meant her parents could be forced to leave within the next two years.

I was devastated, Landaverde told the crowd of 150 gathered Sunday afternoon in the campus center of the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she attends school.

Landaverde was one of many who spoke about the hardships faced by those who have traveled to the country at the Anti-Defamation Leagues 13th annual A Nation of Immigrants Passover Seder. The event, held about a month before the first official night of Passover, celebrates the diversity in the community and advocates for immigrant rights, according to coordinators.

The Passover Seder is all about freedom, ADL regional director Robert Trestan said. This year were hoping to make people recognize that participation and inclusion is part of the journey to freedom.

The seder combined traditional Passover prayers with bits of poetry and quotes from civil rights leaders. About midway through the event, audience members stood to take turns asking one of the Four Questions, Why is this night different from all other nights? in at least 10 languages a show of celebration of the diverse cultures that make up America.

Cardinal Sean Patrick OMalley said Americans, unlike many Europeans, have never been united by a single language or culture.

What has united us is religious freedom, democracy, opportunity, equality, and all of these wonderful ideals that make America the great country that it is, he said.

Much of the celebration focused on the importance of encouraging community members to vote. Keynote speaker and recently elected Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia spoke about her journey to winning her seat by a single vote last December.

I want you all to really sit with that for a minute the power of one, she said. The power that each and every one of us has to change systems, to change the culture, to change the narrative, to change the way we engage in the political process.

All attendants were invited to visit booths near the event hall where participants as young as 16 could register so they could vote in two years. Another booth provided information about ways to participate in the US Census.

Were recognizing that voting is intricately connected to the pathway to freedom, Trestan said. Were hoping when people leave here and talk to their friends and family, theyll participate in the democratic process.

Dan Schullman, who lives in a city west of Boston was moved to tears while listening to Mejia. The volunteer ESL teacher said he is deeply bothered by the hatred that some immigrants face, especially given that many work multiple jobs and overcome enormous hardships to remain in the country.

I have seen a glimpse and its only a glimpse of what its like to go through these things, he said. I think if we have anything to be fearful of, its that they put us to shame.

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'Nation of Immigrants celebrated at ADL Passover Seder - The Boston Globe

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