“It is simply impossible to act as if our ethical and other differences do not exist; however, we can learn to embrace one another’s customs and lifestyles instead of disregarding them. Our distinctiveness is, after all, what makes us human, and brushing these things aside will only end in ignorance.” From “How Malden Benefits From Immigration” by Dina Genene, First Prize, The Immigrant Learning Center’s essay contest, 2022 By Jamie Perkins The Immigrant Learning Center in Malden, Massachusetts, holds an annual essay-writing contest that, according to their website, celebrates “the impact of immigrants and refugees.” The 2023 contest concluded with an awards ceremony at The Immigrant Learning Center on Monday, May 22. This year’s topic was “How My Community Benefits from Immigration.” All Malden High School, Everett High School, and Medford High School students can apply to the contest at no cost. Participants must write their essays in English but are not solely evaluated on English proficiency, and English learners are encouraged to apply. The Immigrant Learning Center is a non-profit organization providing free English […]
By Kyla Denisevich A restaurant owner, insurance company founder, and two pastors each came here with a different mission, but all demonstrate Brazilians values, culture, and work ethic. Malden is home to a population of 61,000 people, and as of 2019, 81.5% of those residents were born outside of the country. In Malden, the Latinx and Hispanic population is 8.5 percent. Most Brazilians don’t identify as Hispanic because they are not a Spanish-speaking country, therefore, it can be hard to categorize Brazilians in demographic calculations. However, their contributions to the community are difficult to miss. Massachusetts has the second largest Brazilian population behind Florida because Brazilians were initially attracted to existing Portuguese-speaking communities in Massachusetts. Large-scale migration from Brazil first began after Brazil’s military coup in 1964, then again during the late 1980s when an economic crisis hit Brazil. The United States remains one of the main destinations for Brazilian emigration. Brazilian immigrants are the most likely ethnic group in Boston to be self-employed, with over a quarter starting their own businesses. Also, Brazilians have the […]
A look at Wah Lum Academy, District Kitchen, and the Chinese Culture Connection. By Saliha Bayrak and Kyla Denisevich. Photos by Keren He. What started off as martial arts lessons in the driveway of Mai Du 15 years ago is now the nationally renowned Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy in Malden and Quincy. Lined with a diverse array of businesses and organizations, Malden is a microcosm of a culturally rich world. Many of these locations are owned and operated by Asian Americans — entrepreneurs and community leaders like Du who are shaping the city to reflect their culture. Asians are the second-largest ethnic group in the city, comprising 22.5 percent of the population. Asian Americans have made unmeasurable contributions to the city and played a significant role in the community, which sometimes goes under appreciated. Denzil Mohammed directs the Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute, which works to educate Americans about the contributions of immigrants. “More than 11% of immigrant Asians in the U.S. are self-employed, meaning they’re entrepreneurs, they have some […]
By Shikha Vyas An International Day that is celebrated every year at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) has indeed become a great success. On Thursday, June 20, guests were handed a passport when entering the ILC building at 442 Main St. with a list of 22 countries from across the globe. ILC students were set up in classrooms throughout the building representing their countries and their culture with food, music, clothing, and displays. “Over the year since we have opened the school, 118 different countries and over 10,000 students have studied here. That means helping 10,000 families,” said Diane Portnoy, Founder and CEO of The ILC. “Every student is very special and this is an opportunity where the students get a chance to show their cultural diversity.” Portnoy enthusiastically explained that on International Day everyone enjoys eating food, listening to music and seeing different kinds of artwork, literature and traditional clothing. Moreover, this is the best way to learn about the culture of other countries, finding out about differences but also all the things […]
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom, or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen … “ So begins the Oath of Allegiance that is recited at every Naturalization Ceremony for new citizens of the United States. These ceremonies can take place in nondescript federal office buildings, large convention centers or symbolic places like Ellis Island, a national park, or a national historic site. But here in Malden, there is an annual tradition of naturalization, begun in 2011, and spearheaded by The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC). The annual ceremony was first held at the Malden Senior Community Center, but has since moved to Malden High School. On Nov. 19, 2018, the annual ceremony naturalized 171 new citizens, who filled the center section of rows in the Jenkins Auditorium. “This ceremony allows us to make an important contribution to our community,” said Diane Portnoy, ILC Executive Director. “Even though more than one-third of Malden […]
Malden’s Immigrant Learning Center Theater class recently hosted a performance event. The class is a unique learning experience for English for speakers of other languages in which conversational English is mixed with personal storytelling and sharing of participant’s experiences. This allows people to share their stories about coming to America, improves their English proficiency, and shines a light on the importance of immigrants to the community. The performance mixed humor and striking theatrical performance with moving personal experiences to make for an entertaining story and an intrigued audience. ILC has always been a safe and creative space to park dialogue about Immigration and its importance to our community while handling the voices of the people who have experienced it first-hand.