NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Amnesty International Club and Students for a Democratic Society Club recently came together and are planning a presentation centered around NECC students and their immigration backgrounds.

Whether the students themselves are immigrants or their parents or grandparents are immigrants, anyone with some sort of immigration background will be allowed to make a submission to the project.

Students are allowed to submit their stories to Professor Stephen Slaner ( and in the submission it should include a picture of whoever the immigrants are in their family along with a short story on their background. The story should be 200 words or less and submitted by March 10. Submissions for the project initially began on February 5.

Those stories and pictures may be featured on a mosaic with all other students sharing their stories and their background with the school.

Immigration is an important part of our country and community to highlight, as on average 16% of NECC students per year are either foreign students, permanent residents (green card holders), or are undocumented students

Slaner, who’s the adviser for the SDS club said this project encourages as many students as possible to submit to the project by the deadline to spread as many stories as possible.

“We’re just getting started, so we haven’t received many submissions yet… but we’re hoping to receive a lot more,” Slaner said.

Most if not all of us come from people who were originally immigrants in our bloodline, even those whose grandparents or great-grandparents were already residing in the U.S, if you trace back far enough you will most likely find some people in your family tree who were originally immigrants.

Professor Slaner reiterates and expands upon some of these points with the overall goal of this project, as the clubs want to help educate everyone in the NECC community about immigration.

“The goal of the project is for students to crystallize their awareness of where they and their family came from… we all came from somewhere, and the message we want to send to the community is that black, brown, and white families ‘may have come here in different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now.’”

Justin, a student who plans on submitting, says he wants to get his family’s story out there and thinks it’s important to learn about everyone’s unique background

“We all come from different backgrounds and stories,” Justin said. “I’m proud of my family’s background and heritage, and I want to make sure to spread it as much as possible. I think it’s extremely interesting where we all come from and it can actually bring all of us together”

When asked about the impact this project may have, Professor Slaner hopes this project will “promote diversity and mutual understanding among all our students.”

“We must try to counter what has been called “the narcissism of small differences” and concentrate on what we have in common. “

Immigration is what has rooted and built what the U.S. is and represents in our current time.
Getting everyone’s story and background out there with projects like these can help people educate and learn more about each other, as well as bring communities closer together.

To submit your story:

Send your story – 200 words or less – to with a picture, if possible, and you can be part of a mosaic of NECC students sharing their experience with the NECC community.
This project is brought to you by Amnesty International and SDS, which meet together every Wednesday at 12:30 PM. Meeting ID is: 833 1720 4322. Passcode is 962024.