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Traveling Emma Lazarus Exhibit Opened at AU on Oct. 31

By Melissa Beneke

“Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscious” is now available for viewing in the Institute for Collaboration.  The Wackerlin Center and Phillips Library were chosen to host the national traveling exhibit from Oct. 31 to Dec. 16.

Lazarus was born in 1849 to an upper middle-class Jewish family.  Author of “A New Colossus,” Lazarus was passionate about anti-Semitism, promoting Zionism and educating refugees.

“She worked to encourage refugees fleeing from their countries in the 1820s,” stated Jonathan Dean, staff of the Wackerlin Center.

In 1903, friends and family of Lazarus dedicated a plaque of her poem, “A New Colossus,” for display in the Statue of Liberty’s museum.

When the Statue of Liberty was first created, it represented freedom for Americans. However, Lazarus argued that the statue should represent more.

“We are none of us free until we are all free.” Lazarus said.

She believed that the Statue of Liberty should represent a more inclusive symbol of freedom for refugees. Lazarus’ influence to all Americans is iconic.

According to Dean, one of Lazarus’ biggest influences on Americans is to make us think more about issues of refugees, immigration and our own country’s identity.

Read more about Lazarus in the Institute for Collaboration Building Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The exhibit is on display through Dec. 16.

The following events are free and open to the public and highlight Emma Lazarus’ contribution to our nation:

  • Thursday, Nov. 3 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Guest Speaker Magda Brown will speak again on “From Slavery to Freedom” as she continues her story about her life as a Holocaust Survivor.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15 at noon. Dr. Victor Mirelman will speak about “Emma Lazarus: A Passion for Justice”. He will talk about Lazarus’ Jewish community.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 7 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. A panel of AU faculty presents “Emma Lazarus and Us”. Panelists will discuss the importance of Emma Lazarus in today’s contemporary world.