As part of the DREAM Team Los Angeles Legacy Project, to preserve the history and stories of American immigration and activism, these books highlight arrival stories and integration into American society for various waves of immigrants. Often, integration, and later acceptance, are achieved through decades of activism both passive and active. And for some immigrant groups, acceptance is still a generation or more away. These books are a sample of American history and our continuing American story.
|The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
A novel about Japanese picture brides immigrating to America in the early 1900’s.
|Japanese Immigration. California, early 1900’s.||“But until then we would stay in America just a little bit longer and work for them, for without us, what would they do? Who would pick the strawberries from their fields? Who would get the fruit down from their trees?…Who would scrub their toilets? Who would mend their garments? Who would iron their shirts?…Who would change their sheets? Who would cook their breakfasts?…Who would soothe their children? Who would bathe their elderly? Who would listen to their stories?…Who would sing for them? Who would dance for them? Who would weep for them? Who would turn the other cheek for them and then one day–because we were tired, because we were old, because we could–forgive them? Only a fool. And so we folded up our kimonos and put them away in our trunks and did not take them out again for years.”||My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive by Julissa Arce
|Arriving to the U.S. at 11 years old on a tourist visa to join her parents, Julissa would become undocumented, see her family deported to Mexico, then rise to the ranks of Vice President of Goldman Sachs.
“There was plenty of noise in my head, though. Why on earth would I have a panic attack? We were almost back home when it finally dawned on me. In less than two weeks there was more than a good chance my secret would finally be exposed–the secret that could ruin my life, that could send me to jail, that could end my career before it ever began. The secret I’d been forced to keep since I was fourteen years old. In less than two weeks I would report to work and be fingerprinted…”