“Walking in Claremont, California the other day, I saw a handwritten sign on a wall: NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL. Because I live in a Texas city with a high majority of Latino residents and an ongoing conversation about citizenship and human rights, this sign caught me up. I had never seen the truth stated so simply before.” — Naomi Shihab Nye
How we can join together across “borders” of all kinds to build vibrant communities? This question is at the heart Naomi Shihab Nye’s poems. It is also the question that will serve as the focus of No Human is Illegal, a community conversation with Naomi Shihab Nye on Thursday, September 28, 2017.
Assumption Professor Lucia Knoles will open the discussion by inviting Naomi Shihab Nye to share her poems and thoughts on immigrants, border crossings, and how we can learn to live as true neighbors. In the second part of the session, the conversation will be broadened to include comments and questions from the audience.
This event is sponsored by The Clemente Course in the Humanities, Worcester, with support from Mass Humanities and the Worcester Art Museum. Now in its fourth year serving Worcester, Clemente offers accredited college-level instruction to educationally and economically disadvantaged adults at no cost. Participants study literature, art history, moral philosophy, and U.S. History in a welcoming community setting.
About Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.” She has spent 40 years traveling the country and the world to lead writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages.
Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.
Selected Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye
Quotes from Interviews with Naomi Shihab Nye
There are people in this world who believe, truly believe, in connections. Nothing can talk us out of them. All the tragically bad human behavior of recent years cannot sway us from our conviction that the majority of beings on our planet want, and need, to live peacefully together.
Teachers and librarians tend to be the heroes of people like us, since they are devoted to uplifting, sharing, enlarging, and expanding consciousness, as opposed to accumulating vast stores of power and wealth. I remember feeling, as a child, that teachers and librarians “had all the answers” or at least knew how to look for them, and I would still like to believe something close to that. . .
Literature is one of the best bridges among us. And it is a beautiful bridge without a toll. Books, stories, poems, encouraging a deepened empathy and respect for one another, especially for those “others” whom one might have imagined to be “unlike ourselves,” serve a great purpose in the current sorrowing time. . .
Each one of us readers might gain from identifying who feels “other” to us at any given time—geographically, ethnically, economically, religiously, experientially—and make a concerted effort to find texts that help to illuminate those “other” lives. Even if we don’t end up “loving them” completely, we may learn something important.
–“From One Friend to Another,” English Journal Vol. 94, No. 3 January 2005 39
If you have a question regarding this event, please use the form below to get in touch.