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Kanstroom Delivers Keynote at MIRA Thanksgiving Luncheon

2013 news archive


Newton, MA – BC Law Professor Dan Kanstroom gave the keynote address at"Our Shared Table 2013: Promoting the Health and Wellbeing of All Immigrants and Refugees" on Tuesday morning at the Massachusetts State House.

Over 250 immigrants and legislators from across Massachusetts celebrated their shared immigrant heritage at the annual Thanksgiving Luncheon, offered by the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, or MIRA. Boston Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh was in attendance and helped serve the meal and introduce the speaking portion of the event.

The keynote speech by professor Kanstroom focused on his work on immigrants’ rights and his personal history and memories of his grandmother, who fled pogroms in Russia and Ukraine at the age of 4 with her parents and her 8 brothers and sisters in 1908, and who inspired him to dedicate himself to the field.

“This is our task today, I think: to give thanks, to be grateful; but also to keep struggling for those who are not yet here or not yet fully or legally here or who face the threat of deportation,” Kanstroom said. “It is surely a difficult struggle, but I am optimistic that the better angels of our nature—linked to our long and best historical traditions— will prevail and that together we can both give thanks and work together to build this dream—my grandmother’s dream-- for our children and grandchildren.”

Kanstoom is donating to MIRA his proceeds from the upcoming anthology, Constructing Illegality in America: Critiques, Experiences, and Responses, edited jointly with Cecilia Menjívar of Arizona State University.

"We were pleased to have a range of distinguished guests join us for our annual State House luncheon," said MIRA Executive Director Eva Millona. "At this annual feast in which we all give thanks for our blessings, we take pride in healthcare advancements that started right here in Massachusetts with the passage of the 2006 health care reform law."

Speakers list:

•   Marcela Garcia,  Bilingual journalist — Emcee

•   Eva Millona, Executive Director, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition — Opening remarks

•   Marty Walsh, Mayor Elect, City of Boston — Thanksgiving Remarks

•   Jay Gonzalez, Senior VP and Chief Development Officer, CeltiCare — Sponsor's welcome

•   Dan Kanstroom,  Professor of Law, Boston College — Keynote

•   Pelagio De La Cruz, immigrant healthcare story one — From no healthcare to full coverage

•   Valdirene Oliveira, Immigrant  healthcare story two — Caring for a daughter with special needs

•   Jamie Eldridge, State Senator, Middlesex and Worcester District — Legislator's remarks