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HCC Event to Spotlight Treatment of Immigrant Children

HOLYOKE — As part its year-long “Enduring Racism” speaker series, Holyoke Community College will present “Kids as Currency: Immigrant Children as Pawns in American Social Policy” on Monday, Nov. 26, beginning at 6 p.m. at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St., Holyoke.

The evening will feature two speakers who are experts in their fields: Moira Maguire, HCC dean of Social Sciences, and David Hernandez, associate professor of Latina/o Studies at Mount Holyoke College.

Drawing on the adoption of Irish children by American couples in the 1940s and 1950s, and the 2018 U.S. policy of separating children from their parents at the Mexican border, Maguire and Hernandez will examine the historical roots of family separation and the ways that immigrant children have, over the past 70 years, represented the biggest hopes and worst fears of American society.

The event is free and open to all. A reception will precede the discussion at 5:30 p.m.

Maguire holds a Ph.D. in history from American University. As a teacher and scholar specializing in 20th-century Irish history, she spent more than 10 years at the University of Ireland Maynooth, where her research on infanticide and the Irish government’s care of unwed mothers and their children led to many articles and a book, Cherished Equally? Precarious Childhood in Independent Ireland. She has also worked as a consultant for the BBC on several documentaries.

Hernandez specializes in immigration policy, detention and deportation, and Latina/o history. His research focuses on immigration enforcement, the U.S. detention system in particular. A prolific writer on the subject, he is completing a book examining the racial genealogy of immigrant detention in the U.S.

The “Enduring Racism” series is a yearlong invitation to join in an open and honest conversation about racism and its many forms in American society.

“Through the sharing of personal stories and scholarship, we trust that, as a community, we will become more knowledgeable, so we can begin the process of overcoming the pain and degradation of racism,” said Mary Jane O’Connor, HCC Wellness coordinator and one of the event organizers. “We do this with the recognition that this can be both a challenging and an affirming conversation and also understand that it is necessary and must be ongoing as we seek truth and reconciliation.”

For more information, contact Mary J. O’Connor at [email protected] or (413) 552-2422, or Camille Close at [email protected] or (413) 552-2277.

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