“Enrique’s Journey” author Sonia Nazario is the 2019 Ballenger Eminent Person at MCC
Pulitzer prize winning journalist and author of Enrique’s Journey, Sonia Nazario, is the featured speaker for the 2019 Ballenger Eminent Persons Lecture Series at Mott Community College (MCC) on April 16.
The presentation will be at 7 p.m. in the MCC Event Center on the main campus in Flint. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6 p.m. The presentation will be followed by a brief question and answer session with the audience. Her book will be available for purchase. Nazario will autograph books following the presentation.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring Sonia Nazario to campus as part of the Ballenger Eminent Persons Lecture Series,” said this year’s Lecture Series Chair, Dr. Dalton Connally, Program Coordinator for the Social Work Technician program in the Fine Arts & Social Sciences Division. “Her work has opened important dialog about social issues including immigration, drug addiction and hunger. This is a great opportunity for our students and the community to join the conversation.”
In addition to her public address on Friday, Nazario will also meet with MCC students at a private event in the afternoon.
Nazario spent 20 years as a journalist writing about social issues before authoring a series of feature stories about a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S. Published as a series in the Los Angeles Times, Enrique’s Journey won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2003. It was turned into a book by Random House, and became a national bestseller.
Enrique’s Journey recounts the unforgettable quest of a Honduran boy looking for his mother, eleven years after she is forced to leave her starving family to find work in the United States. Braving unimaginable peril, often clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains, Enrique travels through hostile worlds full of thugs, bandits, and corrupt cops. But he pushes forward, relying on his wit, courage, hope, and the kindness of strangers. Now updated with a new Epilogue and Afterword, photos of Enrique and his family, an author interview and more, this is a classic of contemporary America.
When a national crisis erupted in 2014 over the detention of unaccompanied immigrant children at the border, Nazario returned to Honduras to report on the violence causing the exodus and argued that it is a refugee crisis, not an immigration crisis. She addressed the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and recruited attorneys to provide pro-bono representation to unaccompanied minors. Her humanitarian efforts led to her selection as the 2015 Don and Arvonne Fraser Human Rights Award recipient by the Advocates for Human Rights. She also was named a 2015 Champion of Children by First Focus and a 2015 Golden Door award winner by HIAS Pennsylvania. In 2016 the American Immigration Council gave her the American Heritage Award. Also in 2016, the Houston Peace & Justice Center honored her with their National Peacemaker Award.
The Ballenger Eminent Persons Lecture Series:
The Ballenger Eminent Persons Lecture Series, named for benefactor William S. Ballenger, Sr., brings prominent individuals to the college to lecture on topics of social, cultural, economic, scientific and historical significance. It was created to enhance educational opportunities for MCC students as well as creates a public discussion of issues facing the greater Flint community.
Since its inception in 1955, speakers have included national and international thought leaders and influencers such as rocket scientist Werner Von Braun, journalists Alistair Cooke and Peter Jennings, art critic Stanley Kaufman, talk show host Geraldo Rivera, writers Alex Haley and William Buckley, humorist Art Buchwald, Black activist Julian Bond, businessman Daymond John, musician and author Patti Smith, mental health advocate and actor Sean Astin, former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, and actress and activist Jenifer Lewis.
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