An exhibit about immigrant life in the Portland area created by English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes at Portland Adult Education will be on display at Portland City Hall from December 6-15.
The exhibit, titled Immigrants Down East, includes profiles of local immigrant leaders, immigrant-owned businesses and organizations important to immigrants. Students also wrote about their own experiences moving to Portland from other parts of the world.
The public is invited to hear presentations by students on December 6 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The exhibit may be viewed anytime during regular City Hall hours.
The exhibit features three African grocery stores, a Thai restaurant, a painting business begun by a Salvadoran immigrant, the Vietnamese Buddhist temple in South Portland and In Her Presence, a group that helps integrate immigrant women while working for social justice. Students also profiled many organizations that help immigrants, including ILAP, Opportunity Alliance, the Portland Public Schools’ Multilingual Office and Furniture Friends. Some students wrote personal accounts of their journeys to Portland and the challenges that they have faced.
Upper-level ESOL classes have spent all fall studying immigration to Maine. They have learned about the history of immigration in the state, Mainers’ attitudes toward immigrants, the role of immigrants in Maine’s economy and ways that immigrants are changing American culture.
The Portland Education Foundation awarded a grant to Shoshana Hoose, a Portland Adult Education teacher, to create the curriculum. Two other teachers, Nancy Fox and Linda Roberts, also worked on it. The Friends of Portland Adult Education provided a grant to cover the costs of the exhibit.
Photo: The owner of Moriah Store on Cumberland Avenue greets customers in 14 languages. The store is one of many places important to local immigrants that are featured in an exhibit by ESOL students at Portland Adult Education. The exhibit will be at Portland City Hall on December 6-15. Photo by Eliezer Moumbele Ngolo