". . . a provocative and unsettling book for the very reasons that immigration is such a difficult issue. Although the stories center on the experience of 25 individuals, they reflect, to some degree, on all of us. This book poses serious and challenging questions that offer no easy answers. Instead, it strips the theoretical veil from the immigration debate and gives it two dozen human faces."
—Maine Sunday Telegram
Who are these new Mainers, and why have they come here? They are from war-torn countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Cambodia; from poor Latin American nations; and from economically vibrant places like Hong Kong, India, and Europe-in other words, from across the global spectrum. They came to Maine for a job or to reunite with their family or because they fell in love or to attend college here or to flee persecution in their homelands.
Although the twenty-five immigrants who tell their stories had widely varying reasons for coming to Maine, many have made remarkable contributions to the state. Some contribute high-level skills in medicine, engineering, academia, law, public-school education, hotel management, and social services. Others have enriched the state's arts and sports worlds. Several are used to going back and forth across borders, either as transnational professionals or as migrant workers. About one-third of these immigrants are successful entrepreneurs.
As you will find out, the journeys of these immigrants have not been easy, but all of them are glad they wound up in this state and are proud of their new identities as Mainers.
Photographer Jan Pieter van Voorst van Beest is a Dutch national who moved to Maine from the Netherlands in 1970. His work has been widely shown in solo, group, and juried exhibits in the U.S and Holland. He has published three books of photography: San Miguel de Allende, a photographic essay; Portland, Maine, in Black and White; and Flesh and Stone. He started in photography in the early 1970s after taking courses at the Portland School of Art, now the Maine College of Art. He also had a long career as a transportation and logistics executive.
Pat Nyhan wrote the text for this book. She is a former journalist with the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and Maine Times who teaches English as a Second Language to immigrants. She has worked for Human Rights Watch on African issues, taught English in Afghanistan in the Peace Corps, and taught media studies at the University of Southern Maine. The author of Zigzag: A Working Woman's Life in Changing Times and Let the Good Times Roll! A Guide to Cajun & Zydeco Music, Pat has lived in Maine for almost thirty years.
Reza Jalali, who wrote the book's foreword, is a writer and community organizer. Originally from Iran, he has lived in Maine for over two decades. A refugee and human-rights advocate who has visited many refugee camps, he speaks nationally on Islam, the Middle East, and refugee and human-rights issues, and leads workshops on cultural diversity. Jalali, who holds an MFA, teaches at the University of Southern Maine, where he also manages the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
Tilbury House, Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue
Gardiner, Maine 04345