Talking Immigration Rights with Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Dandicat

Award-winning author speaks about her critique of the immigration system

The heated debate about immigration rights takes a decidedly literary (but all too genuine roots), as esteemed Haitian-born author Edwidge Danticat heads to Miami to talk family, grief and U.S. immigration politics at the upcoming “Big Read” session, scheduled for March 31, starting 6:30 p.m. at the Little Haiti Cultural Center.

The author will speak in conversation with Americans for Immigrant Justice’s Executive Director, Cheryl Little, on immigrant rights. Danticat has long written about the real physical and emotional plight of immigrants living in the U.S., perhaps most poignantly in her family memoir “Brother, I’m Dying,” which tells the true story of the author’s Mira, and his brother, Joseph. When Mira decides to immigrate to the United States, her Uncle Joseph—a community leader and pastor—chooses to remain in Haiti with his congregation. Edwidge, only two years old at the time of her father’s departure, is left in the care of her Uncle Joseph and his wife, Tante Denise. Joseph and Edwidge develop a close relationship over the next several years, even after she joins her family in the U.S.

Now grown and living in Miami, Edwidge faced the impending death of her father and the birth of her first child. Meanwhile, as political unrest in Port-au-Prince grow due to government and gang disputes, Edwidge fears for the safety of her Uncle Joseph and his family. Fleeing for their lives, Uncle Joseph and his son Maxo seek safety in America and come face to face with the complications of the U.S. immigration system. Over the next 72 hours, Danticat’s world is forever changed as her father’s condition worsens and her uncle’s whereabouts are unknown. Told through Danticat’s singular voice, these events set the stage for a powerful tale of loss and remembrance.

Attorney Cheryl Little worked closely with Danticat on her uncle’s immigration case, and will speak in detail about how many of these same policy issues are affecting immigrants today.

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