Vol. LXI, No. 40
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
As the immigration debate continues in Congress, Princeton’s public access cable television’s Connect program will be considering the topic as it relates to Princeton with a five-part series exploring different perspectives on the issue.
Founding Director of the Arts Council of Princeton Anne Reeves is the interviewer for the Channel 30 series, which features public officials, researchers, activists, and immigrants themselves. The series was made in collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson School.
Programs are scheduled to be seen on Mondays at 7 p.m, Tuesdays at 8 p.m., Thursdays at 10:30 a.m., and Sundays, at 11 a.m. during the month of October.
“This series is enormously important because of the enormity of this complex issue,” said Ms. Reeves. “We have tried to treat the issue with genuine concern and civility.”
The series opens with Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, senior lecturer in the Office of Population Research and Department of Sociology at Princeton University, who acted as series-consultant. Three programs, each of which is 30 minutes long, take the form of 10-minute interviews with three individual speakers. A fourth program is of a round-table panel discussion that took place in June under the guidance of the League of Women Voters of Prince-ton.
“New Jersey is the fifth largest state in the nation in terms of the number of immigrants from all over the world,” said Ms. Reeves, who hopes that viewers will come away with a better appreciation of the issue.
“All immigrants, whether they be accomplished professionals or laborers, should be treated with civility,”said Ms. Reeves, who thanked George McCollough, the board of Channel 30, and the series advisory committee (that included Dick Blofsom, Lance Liverman, Caren Sturges, K.P. Weseloh, and Herb Abelson) for the opportunity to explore this “difficult but timely” topic.
“We strove to present a balanced discussion in the light of Princeton’s own immigrant population, some of whom are, let’s face it, illegal, but who need to be treated with dignity. We had a good response from everyone we approached.”
When asked to host a series of programs for Channel 30 two years ago, Ms. Reeves thought carefully about it. “I had not had a great deal of experience on camera, so I signed up for a course in multimedia at the New School in New York City. I have always admired journalists and television anchors such as Charlie Rose, Ted Koppel, 60 Minutes and CBS News Correspondent Leslie Stahl, “Washington Week” moderator and “Meet The Press” panelist Gwen Ifel, and of course my good friend Cokie Roberts, who has given me some invaluable advice.” [Ms. Roberts will be the featured speaker when Stuart County Day School holds its Women in Leadership Forum on Thursday, October 18. For more information, call (609) 921-2330 x 280]
Interviewees for the Immigration Reform series include Robert F. Patten, the Republican Mayor of Hightstown and Donald Cresitello, the Democratic Mayor of Morristown, an advocate of the proposal that police officers should be deputized as immigration agents. Also featured are Janice Fine, assistant professor at the school of Management and Labor relations, Rutgers University, a principal investigator in a national study of immigrant worker centers; Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who writes extensively on immigration and citizenship and is a leading conservative voice in the media in favor of reform; Ed Overdevest, owner of the Overdevest Nurseries in Bridgetown and an outspoken advocate of immigration reform; Daniel Santo Pietro of the Hispanic Directors Association of New Jersey; and Carol Swain, professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt, whose book Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress received a Woodrow Wilson best book prize when it was published in 1994
Rutgers University 2006 graduate Sharon Nyantekyi, who spent time in a New Jersey detention center after discovering her own illegal status when applying for a driver’s learner permit, talks about her experiences. Ms. Nyantekyi was brought to the United States at the age of six from Ghana with her grandmother and was unaware of her immigration status.
Also interviewed were student and immigration activist Marisol Conde-Hernandez; Maria (Charo) Juega, Chair, Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc,; Princeton area artist and weaver Armando Sosa, whose work is on permanent display in the Princeton Public Library; and Civil Rights Defense Committee spokeswoman Robyn Rodriguez of the Department of Sociology at Rutgers University.
“We tried to create a balanced discussion so as to better inform the Princeton community about an important issue that affects all of us,” said Ms. Reeves.
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