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News Release

Lehigh Valley Immigration Depicted in Collective Memory Project

Moravian College to host reception and Community Forum on February 8

Collective Memory ProjectBethlehem, Pa., February 3, 2011--"Welcome, Neighbor," an exhibition that depicts the broad and diverse history of immigration to the Lehigh Valley, will open Tuesday, February 8 at 6:00 p.m. in the H. Paty Eiffe Gallery of the Haupert Union Building at Moravian College. The project seeks to "put a human face on the powerful phenomenon that is immigration" through the telling of individual stories, accompanied by portrait photography.

The 6 p.m. reception will include a selection of refreshments representing the Lehigh Valley's various cultures and ethnicities; at 7 p.m., a panel of community members and scholars will discuss the impact of immigration. The exhibition, reception, and discussion are all free and open to the public.

Most of the interviews for the "Collective Memory Project" were conducted by Moravian students under the direction of Hugo Ceron, Moravian sociology adjunct, during a fall semester "Cultural Anthropology" class. The idea for the project originated with members of the local ACLU and Alliance for Sustainable Communities.

"When I heard about the idea, I had been preparing my class syllabus and thought it would be a great way to involve my students, who would be studying migration," said Dr. Ceron. The students arranged and conducted 40- to 90-minute interviews--exploring how immigrants adjust their native culture to fit a new, local culture--with people from all over the world who now live in the Lehigh Valley. "The students' perceptions about migrants really changed. At the beginning of the class, most produced fairly mainstream narratives about migrants. After doing the interviews and looking at these personal stories, the students had a more complex understanding of the process of migration."

Sandra Aguilar, Moravian assistant professor of history, also served on the planning team, along with Emma Cleveland of Allentown; photographer Marco Calderon of Allentown; Peter Crownfield of Bethlehem; local historian Karen Samuels of Hellertown; and anthropologist Jill Schennum of Randolph, N.J. Moravian College art major John Strader assisted in the photography.

Moravian College students who participated in the project include: Jesse Krasley '13, Allentown, Pa.; Sean O'Hara '13, Perkasie, Pa.; Victoria Clark '13, Millsboro, Delaware; Taylor DiSora '14, Easton, Pa.; Rebecca Reeser '11, Telford, Pa.; Ashley Elliott '11, Prospect, KY; Shawn Forouraghi '12, Bethlehem, Pa.; Andrea Loiacano '11, Nazareth, Pa.; Darby McDermott (dean's scholar currently a high school student) High Upper Black Eddy, Pa.; Rebekah Finn '11, Bethlehem, Pa.; Jaclyn Lecce '13, Paupack, Pa.; David Jennings '11, Sewell, N.J.; John Corbin '11, Hop Bottom, Pa.; Samantha Savite '13, Hackettstown, N.J.; Caitlyn Benonis '14, Doylestown, Pa.; Elisabeth Verile '13, Phillipsburg, N.J.; Lauren Ruth '12, Harleysville, Pa.; Jainna Dalcomine '13, Millington, N.J.; Deanna Collins '11, Baltimore, Maryland; Casey Chima '13, Warminster, Pa.; Nicholas Guerriero '12, New Providence, N.J.; James Kuri '13, Cumbola, Pa.; Ryan Teed '14, Sparta, N.J.; and Jennifer Roxbury '13, Stanton, N.J.

The project was partly funded by the Leadership Center of Moravian College through a Community Grant. For more on the project visit: http://collectivememoryproject.wordpress.com or email collectivememory@sustainlv.org.

Moravian College encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. Anyone who anticipates needing any type accommodation or who has questions about the physical access provided should contact Kathi Roman at Katro@moravian.edu or 610 625-7880.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.