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'Kids as Currency'

DATE: Monday, November 19, 2018

Nov. 26 event is part of HCC's 'Enduring Racism' speaker series

Enduring Racism logo

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.

The evening will feature two speakers who are experts in their fields: Moira Maguire, HCC dean of Social Sciences, and David Hernández, 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 Hernández 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, who started working at HCC last spring, holds a PhD 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.  

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

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 on-going as we seek truth and reconciliation."

For more information contact Mary J. O'Connor at, 413-552-2422 or Camille Close at or 413-552-2277